Spring Training Stats

Pitchers and catchers report to their team’s camps in Arizona and Florida today, kicking off the beginning of spring training and the 2010 baseball season. It’s a good day.

However, with spring training starting off, it’s time for the annual reminder to not pay any attention to numbers for the next six weeks. We like our stats here, obviously, but spring training numbers just don’t mean a thing. At all. Anything. Need proof?

Last year, 7 NL players hit .400 or better in spring training. Included in that list of guys who tore it up in March were Jeremy Reed, David Eckstein, Khalil Greene, and J.J. Hardy. Reed played badly enough that he was non-tendered, and is now a non-roster invite with the Blue Jays. Greene did even worse than Reed, and is also now trying to fight his way back into Major League Baseball after losing his job with St. Louis. Hardy had the worst year of his career, then got shipped to the Twins over the winter. Eckstein posted the lowest wOBA of his career, and that’s saying something.

Okay, you say, batting average is flukey, but power, that’s legit. After all, Ryan Howard hit 10 bombs to lead all NL players in spring training a year ago, and he’s a monster. Sure, I’ll give you that.

But Craig Monroe finished second with 8 spring home runs, followed closely by Travis Ishikawa with seven. It’s even better when you look at the AL leaderboard – the immortal Mike Wilson out-homered all of the junior circuit competition, then forgot how to hit minor league pitching once the season started. Not too far behind Wilson are the immortal trio of Mike Jacobs, Mark Teahen, and Wilson Betemit. Yeah.

The lowest ERAs of any AL pitcher last spring? David Purcey and Chris Jakubauskas. Brian Moehler was second in spring training ERA for NL hurlers.

The games don’t count, and the players know this. They’re working on things. They’re facing minor league players or guys trying to come back from injury. Half the teams play in a desert atmosphere that helps the ball travel like its Colorado. I know its easy to get sucked in by the story of a new swing, a new pitch, a winter full of hard work, and I’m sure some of that is true. But you won’t find those guys by looking at the stats. Ignore the numbers coming from the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues. They don’t mean a thing.

We hoped you liked reading Spring Training Stats by Dave Cameron!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

newest oldest most voted
Bah!
Guest
Bah!

This is the paradox of spring training: the numbers mean nothing, the games don’t count, and yet rather than get depressed about meaningless baseball we’re all excited that there is baseball being played.

Evan
Guest
Evan

I’m not excited. Not anymore. Thanks for ruining Spring Training Dave.

Bryz
Guest

More like….

This is the paradox of spring training: the numbers mean nothing, the games don’t count, and yet jobs are won and lost based on some players’ performances during the month.

SMorin6
Guest
SMorin6

Hey Guys,
I just wanted to let you know about this raffle that is going on by Rosie O’Donnell and CFC for Rosie’s Broadway Kids Charity. Rosie is raffling off a Luxury Suite on April 3, 2010 for a Nationals preseason game against the Boston Red Sox. The suite has 19 seats and includes In-Suite food and beverages for the winner and guests. The raffle tickets are only $2 with a minimum purchase of 5 tickets. You can get your tickets at http://www.netraffle.org !