Spring Training 101: Why Spring Stats Are Meaningless

While we wait for this afternoon's game against the Dodgers (Randy Wolf vs. Ryan Dempster, a pitching rematch of this game from September 3, 2008, when Wolf threw a six-hit shutout vs. the Cubs at Wrigley), I wanted to call your attention to this excellent post at the SBN Royals site, Royals Review, detailing exactly why spring training stats are meaningless.

It's a worthwhile topic for discussion and to it, I wanted to add this:

Spring training game results are meaningless. I cannot tell you how many spring games I've either listened to, watched, or attended in person, where one team is either far behind or far ahead in the middle innings, and then one team or both clears its bench and inserts either guys who have little chance of making the 25-man roster, or in some cases, people tapped on the shoulder at the minor league field and told, "Hey, we need you to play a couple of innings in the major league game." (In one memorable case, Greg Smith, a Cubs farmhand in the early 1990's who had a couple cups o' coffee in the majors, was actually sitting in the stands at HoHoKam Park, when he was approached by someone in management and told to get down to the clubhouse and put a uniform on, because they needed him in the game.)

When this happens, one team's scrubs often beat up on the other team's scrubs and a 6-0 lead can quickly turn into a 9-7 deficit. So a "loss" in a case like that isn't anything like a loss in the regular season, not when starters are taken out after three or four innings and closers pitch the fifth, with minor leaguers getting ninth-inning saves (last year, Kerry Wood got one spring save in seven appearances, and the Cubs' "leader" in spring saves was Jose Ascanio, with two).

So enjoy spring games and seeing baseball in sunshine for the first time in five months, watch players work on various forms of their games to see what's working... but pay little attention to numbers or results. Those count only starting on April 6.

Today's game preview/game thread will be up at noon CST.

MLB Florida and Arizona Spring Training -
SB Nation

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