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Spring Training Records And What They Don't Mean

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The Royals are undefeated ten games into Spring Training, it make one start to get hopeful, doesn't it?

Pondering, always pondering.
Pondering, always pondering.
Christian Petersen

What does 9-0-1 mean?

In 2003, as we all remember, the Royals won the Cactus League with a 19-8 record. In no small part to some spectacularly good fortune, that team lept out of the gate in the regular season and provided us with the only winning season in the post-strike era.

The question has already been raised in several spots on the site, but is there any correlation between a great spring and a good summer? Let's take a look at teams in the past ten years who have posted spring winning percentages above .600.

Teams that finished with a winning percentage above .700 have an asterisk after their record, while teams that play in the Grapefruit League are shown in italics. Of course, what really matters is what those teams went on to do in the regular season and that record is shown in parenthesis behind the spring training record.

2003

Royals 19-8* (83-80)

Cubs 17-11(88-74)

Indians 19-11 (68-94)

Nationals 17-10 (83-79)

2004

Mariners 18-11(63-99)

Brewers 18-12 (67-94)

Twins 20-10 (91-70)

Nationals 18-11 (67-95)

Red Sox 17-11 (98-64)

2005

Angels 21-11(95-67)

Giants 20-10 (75-87)

Blue Jays 16-10 (80-82)

Mets 17-11 (83-79)

Cards 17-11 (100-62)

2006

Angels 20-11 (89-73)

Padres 18-10 (88-74)

Royals 17-10 (62-100)

Reds 22-11 (80-82)

Marlins 19-9 (78-84)

Phillies 19-11 (85-77)

Indians 20-12 (78-84)

Twins 20-12 (96-66)

2007

Diamondbacks 20-12 (90-72)

Tigers 21-10 (88-74)

Astros 18-11 (73-89)

Cardinals 16-10 (78-84)

Braves 18-12 (84-78)

Reds 18-12 (72-90)

2008

A's 18-8 (75-86)

Angels 19-10 (100-62)

Brewers 18-11(90-72)

Rangers 17-11(79-83)

Rays 18-8 (97-65)

Mets 20-11 (89-73)

Marlins 19-11 (84-77)

Cardinals 17-10 (86-76)

2009

Angels 26-8* (97-65)

Brewers 22-10 (80-82)

Rangers 21-14 (87-75)

Yankees 24-10* (103-59)

Braves 21-12 (86-76)

Cardinals 19-12 (91-71)

2010

Giants 23-12 (92-70)

Indians 19-9 (69-93)

Padres 18-10 (90-72)

Cubs 18-12 (75-87)

Rays 20-8* (96-66)

Tigers 18-12 (81-81)

2011

Giants 23-12 (86-76)

Royals 20-10 (71-91)

Rockies 20-11(73-89)

Brewers 19-11 (96-66)

Twins 20-12 (63-99)

Phillies 21-14 (102-60)

2012

A's 15-7 (94-68)

Mariners 16-9 (75-87)

Angels 19-12 (89-73)

Blue Jays 24-7* (73-89)

Tigers 20-8* (88-74)

Cardinals 16-9 (88-74)

Yankees 18-12 (95-67)

All told 61 teams finished spring training with winning percentages of .600 or above and a little more than half (36) finished with winning records (that counts Detroit's 81-81 2010 campaign). Of the six teams that finished above .700, only last year's Blue Jays failed to post a winning record.

Of this entire group, 18 teams finished with 90 or more wins (or 29.5%). Would you believe, by the way, that 77 teams have enjoyed 90 win seasons between 2003 and 2012? That is 25.6%. Not feeling any big news here, kids.

By and large most everyone understands that spring training stats are at best deceptive and at worst completely worthless. Still, when a team wins nine games in a row, one does start to wonder. Wonder no more, a great spring training record does not hurt, but it does not seem to historically provide a team with an great edge.