Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell hoists the World Series championship trophy after game six of the MLB baseball World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park. The Red Sox won 6-1 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Reason #1 Teams that have had losing records in Spring Training have gone on to win the World Series
After looking back at all the Spring Trainings from 2008 to 2014, the numbers speak for themselves. Just because you have an average or even below average record in the spring doesn’t mean you won’t make the playoffs. I looked at the top 5 teams from each league in Spring Training of each of those years and more often than not, the top five teams in Spring Training did not end up being in the top five teams in the major leagues that same regular season.
Since 2008, of the 70 teams that finished in the top five for each league during Spring Training, only 26 ended up making the playoffs that same year. That is 37%. Of the seven World Series champions, only four of those teams finished in the top five during their Spring Training; three of those were the San Francisco Giants.
Three times in the last seven years, the team that finished last in their league in Spring Training ended up making the playoffs. In 2010, the eventual American League champion Texas Rangers finished last in the Cactus league that year with a 10-19 record. The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates, who made the playoffs for the first time in years, finished last in the Grapefruit League that year with a record of 13-18. Last years Los Angeles Dodgers, who had an impressive regular season run and made the playoffs, were last in the Cactus League with a 7-12 record.
Three World Series Champions in the last seven years didn’t finish Spring Training with a winning record (Phillies, Cardinals, Red Sox).