Why Spring Training Records Actually Matter

You’ve all heard it many times: spring training results (records) don’t mean anything. In this investigation, I will evaluate and question the accuracy of that statement. First, let’s take a look at the Spring Training Standings (per MLB.com) from the last 5 years (2014 – 18)

2018

Grapefruit LeagueWinsLossesPCT
Boston Red Sox229.710
Houston Astros
219.700
Baltimore Orioles1712.586
NY Yankees
1813.581
St. Louis Cardinals1713.567
Miami Marlins1513.536
Minnesota Twins1414.500
Tampa Bay Rays1416.467
Detroit Tigers1315.464
Toronto Blue Jays1418.438
Philadelphia Phillies1317.433
Washington Nationals1317.433
Atlanta Braves1318.419
Pittsburgh Pirates1119.367
NY Mets1018.357
Cactus LeagueWinsLossesPCT
Milwaukee Brewers1912.613
San Diego Padres1510.600
Cleveland Indians1913.594
Chi Cubs1914.576
Chi White Sox1612.571
Kansas City Royals1613.552
Seattle Mariners1614.533
LA Dodgers1715.531
Arizona Diamondbacks1515.500
SF Giants1516.484
Oakland Athletics1416.467
Colorado Rockies1217.414
LA Angels1320.394
Cincinnati Reds1019.345
Texas Rangers822.267

% of time teams made the playoffs (applying to both leagues) in the subsequent regular season

PCT (winning percentage) below .400: 0% (0 out of 5 teams)

PCT .400 – .500: 27.3% (3 out of 11 teams)

  • PCT .400 – .450: 40% (2 out of 5 teams)
  • PCT .451 – .500: 16.7% (1 out of 6 teams)

PCT .500 or below: 18.8% (3 out of 16 teams; this category represented 30% of the playoff spots)

PCT .501 – .600: 36.4% (4 out of 11 teams)

  • PCT .501 – .550: 33.3% (1 out of 3 teams)
  • PCT .551 – .600: 37.5% (3 out of 8 teams)

PCT .601 – .650: 100% (1 out of 1 teams)

PCT above .650: 100% (2 out of 2 teams)

PCT .501 or above: 50% (7 out of 14 teams; this category represented 70% of the playoff spots)

2017

Grapefruit LeagueWinsLossesPCT
NY Yankees249.727
St. Louis Cardinals208.714
Pittsburgh Pirates1912.613
Boston Red Sox1814.563
Minnesota Twins1613.552
Baltimore Orioles1614.533
Houston Astros1515.500
NY Mets1517.469
Philadelphia Phillies1417.452
Miami Marlins1317.433
Washington Nationals1317.433
Tampa Bay Rays1216.429
Toronto Blue Jays1218.400
Detroit Tigers1421.400
Atlanta Braves922.290
Cactus LeagueWinsLossesPCT
LA Angels2114.600
Seattle Mariners1914.576
SF Giants1916.543
Kansas City Royals1715.531
Colorado Rockies1615.516
Cleveland Indians1716.515
Texas Rangers1716.515
LA Dodgers1817.514
Milwaukee Brewers1717.500
Arizona Diamondbacks1515.500
Chi White Sox1617.485
Oakland Athletics 1618.471
Cincinnati Reds1619.457
Chi Cubs1318.419
San Diego Padres1121.344

% of time teams made the playoffs (applying to both leagues) in the subsequent regular season

PCT (winning percentage) below .400: 0% (0 out of 2 teams)

PCT .400 – .500: 28.6% (4 out of 14 teams)

  • PCT .400 – .450: 33.3% (2 out of 6 teams)
  • PCT .451 – .500: 25% (2 out of 8 teams)

PCT .500 or below: 25% (4 out of 16 teams; this category represented 40% of the playoff spots)

PCT .501 – .600: 45.5% (5 out of 11 teams)

  • PCT .501 – .550: 42.9% (3 out of 7 teams)
  • PCT .551 – .600: 50% (2 out of 4 teams)

PCT .601 – .650: 0% (0 out of 1 teams)

PCT above .650: 50% (1 out of 2 teams)

PCT .501 or above: 42.9% (6 out of 14 teams; this category represented 60% of the playoff spots)

2016

Grapefruit LeagueWinsLossesPCT
Washinton Nationals194.826
Toronto Blue Jays178.680
Minnesota Twins1911.633
Detroit Tigers1811.621
Houston Astros1811.621
Philadelphia Phillies1511.577
Tampa Bay Rays1213.480
NY Yankees1416.467
St. Louis Cardinals1113.458
Baltimore Orioles1215.444
Miami Marlins1114.440
Boston Red Sox1418.434
NY Mets817.320
Pittsburgh Pirates820.286
Atlanta Braves520.200
Cactus LeagueWinsLossesPCT
Arizona Diamondbacks248.750
LA Angels198.704
Cleveland Indians1812.600
Chi White Sox1713.567
Colorado Rockies1513.536
Seattle Mariners1614.533
Texas Rangers1715.531
Cincinnati Reds1616.500
Milwaukee Brewers1414.500
LA Dodgers1317.433
Oakland Athletics 1217.414
Kansas City Royals1421.400
SF Giants1320.394
Chi Cubs1119.367
San Diego Padres1021.323

% of time teams made the playoffs (applying to both leagues) in the subsequent regular season

PCT (winning percentage) below .400: 50% (3 out of 6 teams)

PCT .400 – .500: 27.2% (3 out of 11)

  • PCT between .400 – .450: 50% (3 out of 6 teams)
  • PCT between .451 – .500: 0% (0 out of 5 teams)

PCT .500 or below: 35.3% (6 out of 17 teams; this category represented 60% of the playoff spots)

PCT .501 – .600: 33.3% (2 out of 6 teams)

  • PCT .501 – .550: 33.3% (1 out of 3 teams)
  • PCT .551 – .600: 33.3% (1 out of 3 teams)

PCT .601 – .650: 0% (0 out of 3 teams)

PCT above .650: 50% (2 out of 4 teams)

PCT .501 or above: 30.8% (4 out of 13 teams; this category represented 40% of the playoff spots)

2015

Grapefruit LeagueWinsLossesPCT
NY Mets1912.613
Toronto Blue Jays1913.594
Boston Red Sox1712.586
St. Louis Cardinals1311.542
Miami Marlins1412.538
Pittsburgh Pirates1513.536
Tampa Bay Rays1513.536
NY Yankees1716.515
Houston Astros1212.500
Atlanta Braves1517.469
Philadelphia Phillies1417.452
Minnesota Twins1316.448
Washington Nationals1116.407
Baltimore Orioles1219.387
Detroit Tigers1220.375
Cactus LeagueWinsLossesPCT
Oakland Athletics2211.667
Kansas City Royals2010.667
LA Dodgers1611.593
San Diego Padres1712.586
Arizona Diamondbacks1914.576
LA Angels1514.517
Cincinnati Reds1514.517
Colorado Rockies1616.500
Chi Cubs1517.469
Milwaukee Brewers1316.448
Cleveland Indians1418.438
Seattle Mariners1317.433
Chi White Sox1117.393
SF Giants1321.382
Texas Rangers919.321

% of time teams made the playoffs (applying to both leagues) in the subsequent regular season

PCT (winning percentage) below .400: 20% (1 out of 5 teams)

PCT .400 – .500: 20% (2 out of 10)

  • PCT between .400 – .450: 0% (0 out of 5 teams)
  • PCT between .451 – .500: 40% (2 out of 5 teams)

PCT .500 or below: 20% (3 out of 15 teams; this category represented 30% of the playoff spots)

PCT .501 – .600: 41.7% (5 out of 12 teams)

  • PCT .501 – .550: 42.9% (3 out of 7 teams)
  • PCT .551 – .600: 40% (2 out of 5 teams)

PCT .601 – .650: 100% (1 out of 1 teams)

PCT above .650: 50% (1 out of 2 teams)

PCT .501 or above: 46.7% (7 out of 15 teams; this category represented 70% of the playoff spots)

2014

Grapefruit LeagueWinsLossesPCT
Tampa Bay Rays167.696
Miami Marlins1812.600
Pittsburgh Pirates1510.600
Baltimore Orioles 139.591
NY Yankees1712.586
Detroit Tigers1512.556
Toronto Blue Jays1613.552
Washington Nationals1513.536
NY Mets1416.467
St. Louis Cardinals1113.458
Houston Astros1215.444
Atlanta Braves1218.400
Boston Red Sox1117.393
Minnesota Twins916.360
Philadelphia Phillies918.333
Cactus LeagueWinsLossesPCT
Cleveland Indians209.690
LA Angels1911.633
Seattle Mariners1812.600
SF Giants1712.586
Oakland Athletics1513.536
Colorado Rockies1514.517
Arizona Diamondbacks1213.480
San Diego Padres1113.458
Chi Cubs1518.455
Cincinnati Reds1417.452
Kansas City Royals1216.429
Milwaukee Brewers1318.419
Chi White Sox914.391
Texas Rangers1017.370
LA Dodgers712.368

% of time teams made the playoffs (applying to both leagues) in the subsequent regular season

PCT (winning percentage) below .400: 16.7% (1 out of 6 teams)

PCT .400 – .500: 20% (2 out of 10)

  • PCT between .400 – .450: 25% (1 out of 4 teams)
  • PCT between .451 – .500: 16.7% (1 out of 6 teams)

PCT .500 or below: 18.8% (3 out of 16 teams; this category represented 30% of the playoff spots)

PCT .501 – .600: 54.5% (6 out of 11 teams)

  • PCT .501 – .550: 66.7% (2 out of 3 teams)
  • PCT .551 – .600: 50% (4 out of 8 teams)

PCT .601 – .650: 100% (1 out of 1 teams)

PCT above .650: 0% (0 out of 2 teams)

PCT .501 or above: 50% (7 out of 14 teams; this category represented 70% of the playoff spots)

Averages (2014 – 18)

% of time teams made the playoffs (applying to both leagues) in the subsequent regular season

PCT (winning percentage) below .400: 20.8% (5 out of 24 teams)

PCT .400 – .500: 25% (14 out of 56 teams)

  • PCT .400 – .450: 30.8% (8 out of 26 teams)
  • PCT .451 – .500: 20% (6 out of 30 teams)

PCT .500 or below: 23.8% (19 out of 80 teams; this category represented 38% of the playoff spots)

PCT .501 – .600: 43.1% (22 out of 51 teams)

  • PCT .501 – .550: 43.5% (10 out of 23 teams)
  • PCT .551 – .600: 42.9% (12 out of 28 teams)

PCT .601 – .650: 42.9% (3 out of 7 teams)

PCT above .650: 50% (6 out of 12 teams)

PCT .501 or above: 44.3% (31 out of 70 teams; this category represented 62% of the playoff spots)

Spring Training results portend what is to come (whether a playoff spot is in store for that particular team) to a certain extent, thus holding some value. Here are some staggering statistics that reiterate the fact that ST actually matters:

  • Only ~20% of the teams who finished with a winning PCT below .400 in ST made the playoffs
  • A higher % of teams who finished above .500 in ST (44.3%) made the playoffs than the teams who finished with a below .500 record in ST (23.8%)
  • 62% of the teams who made the playoffs in the last 5 years were teams who finished with an above .500 record in ST

Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me @MaxGold81356590

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