I ran this article last season, but it seems that every spring there are fans that forget the message: spring training stats lie. They’re no good. Not real indicators of anything. Get it?
So despite the fact that it’s not exactly timely, I’m reprinting the article in its entirety:
New York Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa has gotten off to a hot start this spring (ed. note: this story was written March 11, 2009), and it has gotten the attention of a few fans—some of which are even thinking he might contribute to the club this season.
After all, he’s pitched eight dominant innings this spring while surrendering zero runs, just 3 hits, and no walks. He’s also a lefty, appears comfortable on the mound, and he cost the Yankees $46 million that they would like to see put to good use after years.
He’s gotten both River Ave Blues and Chad Jennings at least considering him as an option for the bullpen.
The problem is, and it’s easy to forget, that spring training stats don’t amount to shit.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some of the numbers we’ve seen in recent years:
- LaTroy Hawkins had a 0.00 ERA in the spring of 2008.
- In 2007, Darrell Rasner had a 1.50 ERA in four appearances.
- Then there was Jaret Wright, who 0.86 ERA in 21 innings in 2005.
- In the spring of 2004, Kevin Brown impressed everyone with a 1.86 ERA, only to be out done by Javier Vazquez who put up a 0.82 ERA.
- Lastly, Jeff Weaver in 2003 looked like a Cy Young contender early, as he put up a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings.
It’s also important not to get too excited by Brett Gardner’s hot spring. Hitters can also deceive.
- Robinson Cano, who had his worst season of his career in 2008, got off to a hot start in spring 2008 as he hit .447.
- Melky Cabrera gave us false hope when he hit .375 last March (spring 2008).
- Eric Duncan gave hope to people who thought he was a prospect by hitting .414 in 2006.
- Tony Womack hit .410 in 2005, ncluding an amazing 10 extra base hits. He probably didn’t even get 10 XBH’s in all of the 2005 season.
- Bubba Crosby was also a great spring performer. He hit .357 in 2004, and then hit .320 in 2005. He also had a Gardner-like six doubles, one triple, and two home runs.
Essentially, anybody can hit during the spring. It’s a small sample size against pitchers and hitters who might not ever make the major leagues in some cases, or just veterans who haven’t gotten enough work yet or just don’t take spring training seriously.
This offseason you also can throw the WBC (obviously there is no WBC in 2010, but that doesn’t make spring stats any more reliable) into the mix as a reason why spring stats don’t matter.
So let’s try not to get too excited over nothing.
And Igawa still sucks.