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Archived Stat of the Week

 

Which players might go up a notch this year based on their Spring Training statistics?

April 03, 2009

This is our fifth annual list of possible breakout players based on Spring Training statistics. We researched the value of Spring Training stats a few years back and it was quite revealing. For the most part, we agree with the common perception that they don't have value. A bad spring training means nothing. An average spring training tells us nothing. Nevertheless, we did find that when a player has an exceptional spring, it does suggest a better than a 60% chance they will take their game up a notch. It applies to teams as well. Did anybody notice the Angels are 24–8 despite losing Mark Teixeira and Francisco Rodriguez to free agency, and having three star pitchers hurt in John Lackey, Ervin Santana, and Kelvim Escobar?

We define "exceptional spring" as a positive difference between a hitter's spring training slugging percentage and their lifetime slugging percentage of 200 points or more.

We analyzed hitters with both a minimum of 200 career regular season at–bats and with a minimum of 40 spring training or World Baseball Classic at–bats (through spring training games of Thursday, April 2) and found the following 46 players.

Possible Breakout Players
(Slugging percentage 200+ points better in spring training)
Hitter Diff. Spring Career
Mark Teahen, Royals .494 .915 .421
Erick Aybar, Angels .436 .784 .348
Milton Bradley, Cubs .429 .886 .457
Jeff Mathis, Angels .388 .714 .326
John Buck, Royals .358 .756 .398
J.J. Hardy, Brewers .351 .797 .446
Juan Castro, Dodgers .329 .660 .331
Endy Chavez, Mariners .322 .691 .369
Mark DeRosa, Indians .313 .735 .422
Corey Hart, Brewers .312 .797 .485
Torii Hunter, Angels .309 .778 .468
Koyie Hill, Cubs .287 .569 .281
Miguel Olivo, Royals .285 .696 .411
Jason Lane, Blue Jays .279 .736 .457
Alex Gordon, Royals .265 .686 .421
Chris Shelton, Mariners .259 .720 .461
Nelson Cruz, Rangers .258 .689 .431
Jolbert Cabrera, Orioles .257 .622 .365
Kendry Morales, Angels .254 .663 .408
Robb Quinlan, Angels .251 .667 .416
Chris Woodward, Phillies .250 .625 .375
Ivan Rodriguez, Astros .246 .721 .475
Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies .239 .705 .466
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies .236 .595 .359
Jed Lowrie, Red Sox .235 .635 .400
Russell Martin, Dodgers .234 .667 .433
Josh Fields, White Sox .233 .688 .454
Craig Monroe, Pirates .233 .676 .444
Angel Berroa, Yankees .232 .610 .378
Yuniesky Betancourt, Mariners .231 .632 .400
Doug Mientkiewicz, Dodgers .229 .634 .405
Craig Counsell, Brewers .224 .568 .344
Jose Lopez, Mariners .221 .619 .398
Ian Stewart, Rockies .218 .661 .443
Josh Hamilton, Rangers .215 .753 .538
Carlos Delgado, Mets .215 .761 .546
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies .214 .655 .441
Jayson Werth, Phillies .211 .662 .451
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres .209 .703 .494
Andy LaRoche, Pirates .208 .480 .272
Fred Lewis, Giants .208 .642 .434
Eric Bruntlett, Phillies .204 .548 .344
Carlos Gomez, Twins .203 .554 .350
Brandon Inge, Tigers .202 .593 .392
Russell Branyan, Mariners .200 .685 .485
Mark Teixeira, Yankees .200 .741 .541

(minimum 200 career AB and 40 spring Training or WBC AB thru April 2, 2009)

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