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Does a poor start to Spring Training matter?

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Short answer: No. Long answer: No, but with a table!

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain might be bad now, but Matt Cain Pitcherface will be good forever
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of Sami’s article yesterday about the Giants’ poor start to Spring Training, I decided to ask myself a stupid question that I knew would unequivocally not be worth the work it took to answer. The question was this: how have teams that have had Spring Training starts as bad as the Giants’ start fared in the regular season? I asked myself this question and committed to doing research to find out the answer despite the fact that I was pretty sure it was totally irrelevant.

I figured that I should look into the ultimate results of every team (since 2002, since that’s what we have records for) to have lost 8 games in Spring Training before winning 4. Why those numbers? Because the Giants are 3-8, and I didn’t want to treat ties as either wins or losses. Do you have a better way? Congratulations. I’m very happy for you and I wish you all the best with that.

Anyway, here’s the stupid table I made of dumb information that I shouldn’t have put any effort into trying to find out:

Year Team Spring Training Record Regular season wins
2011 Diamondbacks (3-8) 94
2012 Diamondbacks (3-9-1) 81
2012 Braves (1-10) 94
2014 Braves (2-9-3) 79
2015 Braves (3-8-1) 67
2016 Braves (3-10-1) 68
2006 Orioles (2-8) 70
2010 Orioles (2-8) 66
2015 Orioles (3-11) 81
2016 Orioles (3-12-3) 89
2006 Red Sox (3-11) 86
2008 Red Sox (3-8) 95
2015 Cubs (1-8-1) 97
2016 Cubs (3-10-1) 103
2006 White Sox (3-13) 90
2007 White Sox (3-10) 72
2012 White Sox (3-10) 85
2013 Reds (2-11) 90
2006 Rockies (3-8) 76
2009 Rockies (0-8) 92
2009 Tigers (3-8) 86
2009 Astros (3-16-4) 74
2011 Astros (3-10) 56
2010 Angels (3-10-2) 80
2013 Angels (3-11-3) 78
2007 Marlins (3-10-2) 71
2007 Twins (2-8-1) 79
2007 Mets (3-8) 88
2012 Mets (3-11-1) 74
2003 Yankees (3-9) 101
2013 Yankees (3-11) 85
2016 Yankees (3-8-2) 84
2006 A's (3-8) 93
2014 Phillies (3-10-2) 73
2003 Pirates (3-8) 75
2004 Pirates (3-10) 72
2007 Pirates (3-8-1) 68
2008 Pirates (3-8) 67
2016 Pirates (3-8-1) 78
2003 Padres (3-9-2) 64
2009 Padres (3-8-3) 75
2010 Padres (2-8) 90
2016 Padres (3-9-1) 68
2004 Giants (3-9-1) 91
2008 Giants (3-10-1) 72
2015 Giants (3-10-1) 84
2005 Mariners (2-8) 69
2007 Mariners (2-11) 88
2007 Devil Rays (2-16) 66
2012 Rangers (3-10-1) 93
2014 Rangers (3-10-3) 67
2006 Blue Jays (3-8) 87
2006 Nationals (3-13-1) 71
2007 Nationals (3-8) 73
2010 Nationals (0-11) 69

Some notes:

  • The same number of teams on this list won 90 or more as won 70 or less.
  • The Pirates spent a long time being hopeless in Spring Training! That’s not relevant to my point, but still, wow.
  • 25 teams were over .500 during the year, 2 were .500, and the other 28 were under .500. Pretty even mix, as if all the current losing doesn’t actually mean anything.
  • The only World Series winner to make the list is last year’s Cubs, but there were a couple others that started out 3-7, which under the stringent criteria of the list, meant they did not qualify. Please do not take this as a sign that the 2016 Cubs were the only World Series winning team to have had a poor start to their Spring Training.
  • The only World Series loser to make the list is the 2003 Yankees, and man, they won 101 games?
  • Steve Finley is the goddamn devil.

I hope this article diverted your attention for one or more enjoyable minutes. Please enjoy the rest of your day.