Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Wins in spring training are about as informative as fortunetellers.
Sometimes teams that finish at the top of their spring training league make it to the postseason. More often than not, they don’t.
In 2012, half of the teams that finished with the top 10 spring training records went to the postseason. In 2010 and 2011, only three of the top 10 teams made it.
What do spring training stats really tell us? For starters, they can give good indications for prospects ready for the majors.
Todd Frazier’s spring training last year is a good example. Frazier hit .291/.339/.691 in 55 at-bats and still didn’t make the Opening Day roster. However, it didn’t take long for the Reds to call him up for good.
Frazier's solid play and spring training numbers earned him a spot on the major league roster. It was a good example how a great spring training could be beneficial.
Last spring, Aroldis Chapman was preparing for a spot in the rotation and posted a 2.12 ERA, one walk, 18 strikeouts and four earned runs. Even though Chapman spent all of 2012 in the bullpen, it showed the Reds he was ready for a full season at the major league level.
The point is that spring training stats can have important qualities, but they’re often not equivalent to a full season in the majors.
Mat Latos was the only starting pitcher to have a sub-4.00 ERA last spring. Johnny Cueto had a career season, but only struck out nine with 11 earned runs. Cueto so far has five earned runs and seven strikeouts this spring and will likely pitch at least in two more outings.
Drew Stubbs had less strikeouts (15) than Joey Votto (19). Willie Harris hit .264/.316/.321 with 14 hits in spring training but didn’t last more than three months in the majors. His 2012 major league slash line of .114/.170/.205 with just five total hits, was a bit more suggestive.
The poor start is understandably concerning. But with the solidity of the lineup and youthful future, the Cincinnati Reds shouldn’t invest too much into the lackluster spring training.