Spring Training

Do Spring Training Wins and Losses Matter?

You hear it every year. If a team is doing poorly in spring training, its general manager, manager, and players are likely to say: “Spring training games don’t count, we aren’t concerned with our record, guys are working on things, we are giving young players some looks” etc. They will also state clearly that spring training performance will have no bearing on the regular season, usually with some “throwing out/away” and “starting over” metaphor.

In contrast, if a team is doing well in spring training, you are likely to hear that they “like to win no matter what, everything is clicking and the team is playing well,” and of course that the “momentum will carry us into the regular season.”

The Cubs started 0-6-1 this spring training and still sit at just 6-9-1. During these early days Anthony Rizzo stated definitively: “It is Spring Training, yes. Does it matter if we lost? No.” Manager Joe Maddon walked a bit on the line, downplaying the record and emphasizing the type of play he was seeing (the good and the bad), but also hinting that winning mattered: “Of course it does,” Maddon said, “You always want to win.”

So does winning in spring training matter? I surveyed the field to see what we know, if anything, about the relationship between spring training and regular season performance.

Warm Thoughts from Snowmageddon Central

Happy Groundhog day (again and again). From the heart of Snowmageddon this surgeon gets his first "Snow Day" since the big snow of 1967. So here comes an impromptu odds & ends post.

The first order of business is to remind those digging out from the Thunder-Blizzard (and to warm them up) that the CUBS PITCHERS and CATCHERS report to Mesa in 11 DAYS, officially on February 13th (per Carrie Muskat at mlb.com). Position Players report on Feb 18th and the FIRST SPRING TRAINING GAME is in 25 DAYS as the Cubs play Oakland on Feb 27th at Mesa.

Snow Angels and more, after the jump...

Dodgers Can't Escape the Wrath of Hoff-POWER!

Micah Hoffpauir crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th, turning a two-run Cubs deficit into a two-run Cub lead, as the Cubs defeated the Dodgers 5-3 in the Cactus League opener for both clubs at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, Arizona 

box score  

Spring Training Narratives: The Mad-Libs Edition.

I was meaning to write a nice update of spring training storylines like Rob has done in the post below, but I'm too busy reading rejection letters from Universities being chased by spurned Valentines to scour the globe for the informative content that you, the reader deserve.

Then I remembered that it's spring training, and the stories write themselves.

So here are your Mad Libs that need filling in.  The story itself is below the fold.  (No peeking until you've entered your words!)

 

1. A Cubs Player

2. A number

3. A celebrity

4. A food

5.  A gerund (a verb + ing) 

6.  A noun

7. A Cubs Player

8.  A body part

9.  A medical procedure

10.  A number

11.  A roster position

12. A Cubs Player

13. An adjective

14.  A Cubs Player

15.  An Adjective

16.  A player from another baseball team

17.  A sports reporter

18.  A retired player

19.  An adjective

20.  A roster position

21.  A feature of Wrigley Field

22. +  23.  Two corporations

24.  An occupation

25 + 26.  Two Celebrities

27.  A tragedy

28.  A Cubs Player

29.  A noun.

Cubs Invite 21 to Camp; Sign Michael Wuertz

The Cubs signed Michael Wuertz for $1.1M today, thus avoiding any ghastly arbitration cases with any of their players. Not including auto-renewals - which Arizona Phil on the right sidebar estimates at around $3.5M total -  the Cubs payroll for 2009 is at $134.1M, so they still have a few million in wiggle room.

They also released their NRI list for spring training.

Rich Hill Sharp in Final Spring Training Outing

While the rest of his teammates spent the weekend in Las Vegas before heading back to Chicago for Opening Day, Rich Hill remained in Arizona and made his final Spring Training tune-up start versus the Angels' Salt Lake AAA club at the Diablo Park minor league complex in Tempe this morning.

Hill struggled with his control a bit in the 1st and 3rd innings (he walked a batter to load the bases in the bottom of the 3rd and then hit a batter to force-in a run), but he also retired the side in order in the 2nd, 4th, and 5th innings, including the last eight men he faced.

With a mandate from Larry Rothschild to throw between 80 and 90 pitches, Hill ended up throwing exactly 80 pitches (22-14-23-10-11 in innings 1-2-3-4-5, including 50 strikes and 30 balls).

In his five innings of work, the left-hander allowed one run (earned) on three hits, with two walks, four strikeouts, and a HBP, with a 6/5 GB/FB. 

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  • so...

    anyone else ready for the all-star break? =p

    it's been a tough past couple weeks...except that reds series. i miss playing the reds. that was cool.

    crunch 6 hours 25 min ago view
  • To take my mind of this latest disaster...wow, I thought baseball money was crazy, but NBA money is now super-wacko crazy. Joakim Noah is 31 with bad knees and absolutely no offensive game. He can't make a layup. The Knicks just agreed to pay him $72M over 4 years. Holy crap.

    billybucks 7 hours 21 min ago view
  • "if"?

    billybucks 7 hours 25 min ago view
  • Thank you, Jason, for allowing me to get to bed at a decent hour. Very thoughtful.

    It will be very interesting to see what Theo does at the deadline. Of course, if Jake doesn't get straightened out, it really doesn't matter. A lot of Jake's comments this year, and his posing for nudie pics in the ESPN magazine, rang some alarm bells -- after one great year (and it was amazingly great), his head has swelled tremendously. Jake, look up the word "hubris", then look in the mirror.

    billybucks 7 hours 26 min ago view
  • ...and we're back from the 3rd rain delay.

    crunch 7 hours 27 min ago view
  • at least the cubs have a decent backup of...ummmm....well the minor league system has...uhhh...hmmm.

    maybe adam warren can manage to throw less than 100 pitches in 5 innings? no?

    well damn.

    crunch 7 hours 35 min ago view
  • Not to worry -- I'm sure Hammel will finish strong in the 2nd half of the season (~sad chuckle, reaches for Scotch bottle~).

    billybucks 7 hours 40 min ago view
  • Hammel has had a rather challenging last month. I am hoping post-break that Hendrix gets pushed ahead of him. They'll be lucky to win a game in NY

    The E-Man 7 hours 59 min ago view
  • hey, alright...cubs losing by 9 and a 3rd rain delay. awesome.

    crunch 8 hours 9 min ago view
  • If baseball does not work out for Patton, I think he's got a future in Civil War re-enactments. He's got a solid Johnny-Reb look to him.

    Eric S 8 hours 13 min ago view
  • David Ross - the mound awaits you.

    Eric S 8 hours 21 min ago view
  • RIP jason hammel's awesome ERA.

    10 ER in 4ip...almost a full point tacked on tonight, alone. 5HR given up tonight. oogly.

    crunch 8 hours 24 min ago view
  • Nimmo certainly does not want to see the Cubs leave town. His first MLB rbi last night and now his first HR.

    At least Hammel is eating some innings ... this is the kind of game Peralta should be used if at all.

    Eric S 8 hours 33 min ago view
  • OK, the hell with it.

    It's July 1 -- Hammel starting to suck right on schedule.

    Other than sweeping the Reds -- a bad team actively trying to lose -- this will make 8 losses in 9 games to good teams (Cards, Marlins, Mets). Not good at all.

    billybucks 8 hours 36 min ago view
  • Belicheat a consultant for the Red Sox?

    Eric S 8 hours 57 min ago view
  • And, so, Jason Hammel decides to test my new resolution right away. Sheesh.

    No Wright, no Duda, no Granderson -- no problem for NY. Ugh.

    billybucks 9 hours 3 min ago view