Fantasy Baseball logoFantasy Baseball

Do Pitching Stats Matter in Spring Training?

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 28:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies during a Major League Baseball game at AT&T Park on August 28, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Nick KappelAnalyst IIIMarch 9, 2010

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: FANTASY BASEBALL INSIDERS

One common myth about spring training is that it actually matters. Now don’t get me wrong, the live game action provides valuable experience for young prospects and is useful to players as they battle back from injury. Even the grizzled veterans need time each spring to get back into the groove.

However, if you’re using pitcher’s spring training stats to find hints at regular season success, you’re going to get burned.

MLB Network recently aired a segment on this topic, and the findings include information every fantasy baseball manager should be aware of. The following includes the top-10 ERA's from last spring. The first two columns list the pitcher’s innings pitched total and ERA during exhibition play. The third and fourth columns reveal their regular season totals. (Spring statistics courtesy of ESPN.com)

 

PLAYERSPRING IPSPRING ERAREG. REASON IPREG. SEASON ERA
Edinson Volquez22 2/31.1949 2/34.35
Brian Moehler251.44154 2/35.49
Chris Carpenter23 2/31.52192 2/32.24
Paul Maholm23 2/31.52194 2/34.44
Micah Owings23 2/31.52119 2/35.34
David Purcey23 1/31.54486.19
Johnny Cueto231.57171 1/34.41
Glen Perkins261.7396 1/35.89
Joel Pineiro251.802143.49
Chris Jakubauskas21 2/32.08935.32

 

Of the players listed above, only Chris Carpenter and Joel Pineiro carried their spring success into the summer months. Not coincidentally, the two St. Louis Cardinals starters are the only pitchers from this list to have posted more than one season of 200-plus innings and a sub-4.00 ERA.

Surprisingly enough, this works both ways. In fact, three of the top-five leaders in ERA last season failed to post stellar numbers in the spring.

 

PLAYERSPRING IPSPRING ERAREG. REASON IPREG. SEASON ERA
Tim Lincecum22 1/34.03225 1/32.48
Zack Greinke28 1/39.21229 1/32.16
Felix Hernandez810.13238 2/32.49

 

Bottom line: a pitcher’s spring training stats are typically not a good indication of their upcoming regular season production. If you’re trying to find subtle clues that may suggest upcoming success, stick to these basic factors: pedigree, velocity, pure stuff (K/9), control (BB/9), and perhaps the most valuable of all, the eye test.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices