It Don’t Mean a Thing if You Don’t Win in Spring

Pitchers and catchers have reported to camps. Spring training is underway. Soon the first exhibition games in Florida and Arizona will commence.

I’m here to tell you that you should not worry if your team does not come out of spring training with a winning record.  Using won-loss totals for both spring training and the regular season from 2006 through 2016, I calculated that there is a .216 correlation between the two (a correlation of 1.0 is a perfect positive relationship, while 0.0 means there is no relationship).

Why just last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks went 24-8 in February and March, and then proceeded to barely win three times as many games in the regular season (69-93). On the flip side, the Cubs “struggled” to an 11-19 spring mark, and then routed their division on their way to 103 regular season wins and an eventual World Series.

So here are the spring and regular season won-loss records for each team during each of the last 11 seasons, ranked by difference in winning percentage. Note the 2016 D’backs at the very top and the 2016 Cubs at the other end.

Team YEAR ST W ST L ST PCT RS W RS L RS PCT PCT DIFF
Arizona 2016 24 8 .750 69 93 .426 -.324
Toronto 2012 24 7 .774 73 89 .451 -.323
Minnesota 2016 19 11 .633 59 103 .364 -.269
Cleveland 2010 19 9 .679 69 93 .426 -.253
Kansas City 2013 25 7 .781 86 76 .531 -.250
Oakland 2015 22 11 .667 68 94 .420 -.247
Kansas City 2006 17 10 .630 62 100 .383 -.247
LA Angels 2016 19 8 .704 74 88 .457 -.247
Washington 2016 19 4 .826 95 67 .586 -.240
Minnesota 2011 20 12 .625 63 99 .389 -.236
Kansas City 2011 20 10 .667 71 91 .438 -.229
Seattle 2013 22 11 .667 71 91 .438 -.229
Oakland 2008 18 8 .692 75 86 .466 -.226
Tampa Bay 2014 16 7 .696 77 85 .475 -.221
Florida 2006 19 9 .679 78 84 .481 -.198
Colorado 2011 20 11 .645 73 89 .451 -.194
Milwaukee 2009 22 10 .688 80 82 .494 -.194
Seattle 2012 16 9 .640 75 87 .463 -.177
Cincinnati 2006 22 11 .667 80 82 .494 -.173
Detroit 2012 20 8 .714 88 74 .543 -.171
Houston 2007 18 11 .621 73 89 .451 -.170
Houston 2013 15 16 .484 51 111 .315 -.169
Boston 2012 16 11 .593 69 93 .426 -.167
LA Angels 2009 26 8 .765 97 65 .599 -.166
Cleveland 2014 20 9 .690 85 77 .525 -.165
Kansas City 2009 18 14 .563 65 97 .401 -.162
Cincinnati 2007 18 12 .600 72 90 .444 -.156
Baltimore 2013 19 9 .679 85 77 .525 -.154
Pittsburgh 2009 17 15 .531 62 99 .385 -.146
Chi Cubs 2006 16 13 .552 66 96 .407 -.145
Cleveland 2006 20 12 .625 78 84 .481 -.144
Philadelphia 2016 15 11 .577 71 91 .438 -.139
Minnesota 2012 18 15 .545 66 96 .407 -.138
Seattle 2011 16 13 .552 67 95 .414 -.138
Chi Cubs 2012 17 16 .515 61 101 .377 -.138
Chi Cubs 2010 18 12 .600 75 87 .463 -.137
Colorado 2012 17 15 .531 64 98 .395 -.136
St. Louis 2007 16 10 .615 78 84 .481 -.134
Detroit 2007 21 10 .677 88 74 .543 -.134
Toronto 2016 17 8 .680 89 73 .549 -.131
Texas 2007 16 11 .593 75 87 .463 -.130
San Diego 2015 17 12 .586 74 88 .457 -.129
Baltimore 2007 16 13 .552 69 93 .426 -.126
San Francisco 2011 23 12 .657 86 76 .531 -.126
Miami 2014 18 12 .600 77 85 .475 -.125
Cincinnati 2015 15 14 .517 64 98 .395 -.122
Tampa Bay 2010 20 8 .714 96 66 .593 -.121
Texas 2008 17 11 .607 79 83 .488 -.119
Colorado 2006 17 12 .586 76 86 .469 -.117
Oakland 2007 17 12 .586 76 86 .469 -.117
NY Mets 2009 18 15 .545 70 92 .432 -.113
Houston 2012 14 17 .452 55 107 .340 -.112
Chi White Sox 2013 14 14 .500 63 99 .389 -.111
Florida 2008 19 11 .633 84 77 .522 -.111
Colorado 2014 15 14 .517 66 96 .407 -.110
Minnesota 2013 17 16 .515 66 96 .407 -.108
Philadelphia 2006 19 11 .633 85 77 .525 -.108
Kansas City 2010 14 13 .519 67 95 .414 -.105
Washington 2009 15 17 .469 59 103 .364 -.105
Boston 2015 17 12 .586 78 84 .481 -.105
Atlanta 2009 21 12 .636 86 76 .531 -.105
Oakland 2012 15 7 .682 94 68 .580 -.102
Houston 2016 18 11 .621 84 78 .519 -.102
Miami 2015 14 12 .538 71 91 .438 -.100
Detroit 2010 18 12 .600 81 81 .500 -.100
St. Louis 2008 17 10 .630 86 76 .531 -.099
St. Louis 2012 16 9 .640 88 74 .543 -.097
NY Mets 2008 20 11 .645 89 73 .549 -.096
Arizona 2006 18 14 .563 76 86 .469 -.094
Tampa Bay 2008 18 8 .692 97 65 .599 -.093
San Francisco 2010 23 12 .657 92 70 .568 -.089
Arizona 2015 19 14 .576 79 83 .488 -.088
San Diego 2012 20 16 .556 76 86 .469 -.087
Detroit 2016 18 11 .621 86 75 .534 -.087
San Diego 2010 18 10 .643 90 72 .556 -.087
Chi White Sox 2016 17 13 .567 78 84 .481 -.086
Arizona 2014 12 13 .480 64 98 .395 -.085
Kansas City 2015 20 10 .667 95 67 .586 -.081
Colorado 2008 14 12 .538 74 88 .457 -.081
Atlanta 2007 18 12 .600 84 78 .519 -.081
Cincinnati 2016 16 16 .500 68 94 .420 -.080
Colorado 2015 16 16 .500 68 94 .420 -.080
Baltimore 2011 15 15 .500 69 93 .426 -.074
Cincinnati 2008 17 15 .531 74 88 .457 -.074
San Diego 2008 12 14 .462 63 99 .389 -.073
Colorado 2016 15 13 .536 75 87 .463 -.073
LA Angels 2006 18 11 .621 89 73 .549 -.072
Seattle 2008 13 16 .448 61 101 .377 -.071
Tampa Bay 2006 13 16 .448 61 101 .377 -.071
Kansas City 2008 16 14 .533 75 87 .463 -.070
NY Yankees 2009 24 10 .706 103 59 .636 -.070
Arizona 2007 20 12 .625 90 72 .556 -.069
Arizona 2010 15 17 .469 65 97 .401 -.068
NY Yankees 2014 17 12 .586 84 78 .519 -.067
Miami 2013 13 16 .448 62 100 .383 -.065
Milwaukee 2008 18 11 .621 90 72 .556 -.065
San Diego 2006 17 11 .607 88 74 .543 -.064
LA Angels 2012 19 12 .613 89 73 .549 -.064
Philadelphia 2015 14 17 .452 63 99 .389 -.063
Seattle 2014 18 12 .600 87 75 .537 -.063
Texas 2009 21 14 .600 87 75 .537 -.063
Cincinnati 2011 17 14 .548 79 83 .488 -.060
Tampa Bay 2016 12 13 .480 68 94 .420 -.060
Detroit 2008 15 14 .517 74 88 .457 -.060
Minnesota 2009 19 13 .594 87 76 .534 -.060
Colorado 2013 16 15 .516 74 88 .457 -.059
Milwaukee 2010 16 14 .533 77 85 .475 -.058
Pittsburgh 2014 15 10 .600 88 74 .543 -.057
NY Mets 2015 19 12 .613 90 72 .556 -.057
NY Mets 2011 17 15 .531 77 85 .475 -.056
Atlanta 2008 15 15 .500 72 90 .444 -.056
Florida 2011 15 15 .500 72 90 .444 -.056
Kansas City 2012 16 16 .500 72 90 .444 -.056
Atlanta 2015 15 17 .469 67 95 .414 -.055
Pittsburgh 2006 15 17 .469 67 95 .414 -.055
Colorado 2010 17 13 .567 83 79 .512 -.055
St. Louis 2009 19 12 .613 91 71 .562 -.051
Chi Cubs 2013 16 19 .457 66 96 .407 -.050
LA Angels 2011 18 13 .581 86 76 .531 -.050
Milwaukee 2016 14 14 .500 73 89 .451 -.049
San Francisco 2013 16 15 .516 76 86 .469 -.047
NY Mets 2013 15 15 .500 74 88 .457 -.043
San Francisco 2014 17 12 .586 88 74 .543 -.043
Tampa Bay 2015 15 13 .536 80 82 .494 -.042
Chi Cubs 2007 17 13 .567 85 77 .525 -.042
Toronto 2014 16 13 .552 83 79 .512 -.040
Milwaukee 2011 19 11 .633 96 66 .593 -.040
LA Angels 2008 19 10 .655 100 62 .617 -.038
Washington 2008 12 18 .400 59 102 .366 -.034
Philadelphia 2013 16 17 .485 73 89 .451 -.034
Toronto 2011 16 14 .533 81 81 .500 -.033
Milwaukee 2015 13 16 .448 68 94 .420 -.028
LA Angels 2014 19 11 .633 98 64 .605 -.028
Toronto 2013 16 17 .485 74 88 .457 -.028
LA Dodgers 2015 16 11 .593 92 70 .568 -.025
Atlanta 2010 17 12 .586 91 71 .562 -.024
Seattle 2010 12 18 .400 61 101 .377 -.023
Cleveland 2011 15 14 .517 80 82 .494 -.023
Oakland 2009 17 18 .486 75 87 .463 -.023
Washington 2011 15 14 .517 80 81 .497 -.020
Toronto 2015 19 13 .594 93 69 .574 -.020
Pittsburgh 2008 13 17 .433 67 95 .414 -.019
Atlanta 2011 17 13 .567 89 73 .549 -.018
San Francisco 2007 15 18 .455 71 91 .438 -.017
Cleveland 2008 15 14 .517 81 81 .500 -.017
Cleveland 2016 18 12 .600 94 67 .584 -.016
Miami 2012 11 14 .440 69 93 .426 -.014
NY Yankees 2012 18 12 .600 95 67 .586 -.014
Houston 2014 12 15 .444 70 92 .432 -.012
LA Dodgers 2007 17 16 .515 82 80 .506 -.009
Baltimore 2010 12 17 .414 66 96 .407 -.007
Florida 2010 14 14 .500 80 82 .494 -.006
Chi Cubs 2014 15 18 .455 73 89 .451 -.004
Milwaukee 2006 14 16 .467 75 87 .463 -.004
Seattle 2016 16 14 .533 86 76 .531 -.002
San Diego 2007 17 14 .548 89 74 .546 -.002
Detroit 2013 19 14 .576 93 69 .574 -.002
Boston 2009 20 14 .588 95 67 .586 -.002
Detroit 2011 20 14 .588 95 67 .586 -.002
Baltimore 2006 13 17 .433 70 92 .432 -.001
St. Louis 2006 15 14 .517 83 78 .516 -.001
Minnesota 2006 19 13 .594 96 66 .593 -.001
Detroit 2014 15 12 .556 90 72 .556 .000
Boston 2010 17 14 .548 89 73 .549 .001
Baltimore 2014 13 9 .591 96 66 .593 .002
LA Angels 2007 19 14 .576 94 68 .580 .004
Houston 2010 13 15 .464 76 86 .469 .005
Florida 2007 13 17 .433 71 91 .438 .005
San Diego 2011 13 17 .433 71 91 .438 .005
Pittsburgh 2007 12 17 .414 68 94 .420 .006
LA Dodgers 2006 15 13 .536 88 74 .543 .007
Oakland 2014 15 13 .536 88 74 .543 .007
LA Angels 2015 15 14 .517 85 77 .525 .008
NY Yankees 2008 14 12 .538 89 73 .549 .011
Oakland 2016 12 17 .414 69 93 .426 .012
Baltimore 2009 13 21 .382 64 98 .395 .013
Chi Cubs 2011 14 19 .424 71 91 .438 .014
St. Louis 2010 15 14 .517 86 76 .531 .014
Arizona 2013 16 17 .485 81 81 .500 .015
Chi Cubs 2009 18 18 .500 83 78 .516 .016
Cincinnati 2014 14 17 .452 76 86 .469 .017
San Diego 2014 11 13 .458 77 85 .475 .017
San Francisco 2009 21 19 .525 88 74 .543 .018
NY Mets 2010 14 16 .467 79 83 .488 .021
NY Mets 2014 14 16 .467 79 83 .488 .021
NY Yankees 2015 17 16 .515 87 75 .537 .022
Atlanta 2013 20 15 .571 96 66 .593 .022
San Diego 2013 16 20 .444 76 86 .469 .025
Cleveland 2009 12 20 .375 65 97 .401 .026
Oakland 2013 17 13 .567 96 66 .593 .026
LA Angels 2010 13 15 .464 80 82 .494 .030
Toronto 2009 13 17 .433 75 87 .463 .030
Philadelphia 2011 21 14 .600 102 60 .630 .030
Houston 2015 12 12 .500 86 76 .531 .031
LA Dodgers 2012 15 15 .500 86 76 .531 .031
Houston 2011 11 24 .314 56 106 .346 .032
Colorado 2007 13 12 .520 90 73 .552 .032
Philadelphia 2012 14 16 .467 81 81 .500 .033
San Francisco 2012 18 15 .545 94 68 .580 .035
Tampa Bay 2009 15 16 .484 84 78 .519 .035
Seattle 2015 13 17 .433 76 86 .469 .036
Minnesota 2007 14 17 .452 79 83 .488 .036
Boston 2007 15 12 .556 96 66 .593 .037
Milwaukee 2013 13 18 .419 74 88 .457 .038
San Francisco 2006 13 17 .433 76 85 .472 .039
Minnesota 2008 15 15 .500 88 75 .540 .040
Detroit 2006 18 15 .545 95 67 .586 .041
Philadelphia 2010 15 12 .556 97 65 .599 .043
Milwaukee 2012 15 17 .469 83 79 .512 .043
Texas 2014 10 17 .370 67 95 .414 .044
Chi White Sox 2009 16 20 .444 79 83 .488 .044
Boston 2014 11 17 .393 71 91 .438 .045
Arizona 2012 15 18 .455 81 81 .500 .045
Toronto 2010 12 13 .480 85 77 .525 .045
Tampa Bay 2011 15 14 .517 91 71 .562 .045
Minnesota 2010 16 14 .533 94 68 .580 .047
Kansas City 2007 11 18 .379 69 93 .426 .047
Toronto 2007 12 14 .462 83 79 .512 .050
Miami 2016 11 14 .440 79 82 .491 .051
Baltimore 2008 10 17 .370 68 93 .422 .052
NY Yankees 2016 14 16 .467 84 78 .519 .052
Cleveland 2013 17 16 .515 92 70 .568 .053
Seattle 2009 16 18 .471 85 77 .525 .054
Texas 2016 17 15 .531 95 67 .586 .055
Washington 2014 15 13 .536 96 66 .593 .057
Washington 2007 11 17 .393 73 89 .451 .058
Texas 2013 17 17 .500 91 72 .558 .058
Detroit 2009 15 17 .469 86 77 .528 .059
Cleveland 2007 16 14 .533 96 66 .593 .060
Chi White Sox 2014 9 14 .391 73 89 .451 .060
NY Yankees 2007 14 13 .519 94 68 .580 .061
Tampa Bay 2007 10 19 .345 66 96 .407 .062
Minnesota 2015 13 16 .448 83 79 .512 .064
Texas 2006 12 16 .429 80 82 .494 .065
Cleveland 2015 14 18 .438 81 80 .503 .065
NY Mets 2006 16 14 .533 97 65 .599 .066
Colorado 2009 17 17 .500 92 70 .568 .068
Pittsburgh 2015 15 13 .536 98 64 .605 .069
Minnesota 2014 9 16 .360 70 92 .432 .072
St. Louis 2016 11 13 .458 86 76 .531 .073
St. Louis 2015 13 11 .542 100 62 .617 .075
Chi White Sox 2015 11 17 .393 76 86 .469 .076
Milwaukee 2007 13 17 .433 83 79 .512 .079
Pittsburgh 2011 12 21 .364 72 90 .444 .080
Houston 2009 12 20 .375 74 88 .457 .082
St. Louis 2013 16 15 .516 97 65 .599 .083
Toronto 2008 13 16 .448 86 76 .531 .083
Detroit 2015 12 20 .375 74 87 .460 .085
Oakland 2010 12 17 .414 81 81 .500 .086
Cincinnati 2009 13 20 .394 78 84 .481 .087
Milwaukee 2014 13 18 .419 82 80 .506 .087
Chi White Sox 2012 14 18 .438 85 77 .525 .087
NY Yankees 2013 14 18 .438 85 77 .525 .087
Seattle 2006 11 17 .393 78 84 .481 .088
Atlanta 2014 12 18 .400 79 83 .488 .088
St. Louis 2011 14 16 .467 90 72 .556 .089
Washington 2010 10 20 .333 69 93 .426 .093
Oakland 2011 12 21 .364 74 88 .457 .093
Washington 2013 14 18 .438 86 76 .531 .093
Tampa Bay 2013 15 17 .469 92 71 .564 .095
San Diego 2016 10 21 .323 68 94 .420 .097
St. Louis 2014 11 13 .458 90 72 .556 .098
Boston 2013 17 17 .500 97 65 .599 .099
Kansas City 2016 14 21 .400 81 81 .500 .100
LA Dodgers 2010 11 17 .393 80 82 .494 .101
Pittsburgh 2010 7 21 .250 57 105 .352 .102
Chi Cubs 2008 15 15 .500 97 64 .602 .102
Oakland 2006 15 17 .469 93 69 .574 .105
Washington 2015 11 16 .407 83 79 .512 .105
Baltimore 2016 12 15 .444 89 73 .549 .105
Arizona 2008 12 18 .400 82 80 .506 .106
Arizona 2009 11 23 .324 70 92 .432 .108
Atlanta 2006 11 18 .379 79 83 .488 .109
LA Dodgers 2011 14 21 .400 82 79 .509 .109
Baltimore 2015 12 19 .387 81 81 .500 .113
Chi White Sox 2010 12 16 .429 88 74 .543 .114
NY Yankees 2006 15 16 .484 97 65 .599 .115
Houston 2008 13 18 .419 86 75 .534 .115
Baltimore 2012 11 13 .458 93 69 .574 .116
Philadelphia 2014 9 18 .333 73 89 .451 .118
Kansas City 2014 12 16 .429 89 73 .549 .120
NY Yankees 2010 13 15 .464 95 67 .586 .122
LA Dodgers 2016 13 17 .433 91 71 .562 .129
Chi Cubs 2015 15 17 .469 97 65 .599 .130
Cincinnati 2012 15 17 .469 97 65 .599 .130
Chi White Sox 2007 10 22 .313 72 90 .444 .131
Seattle 2007 14 20 .412 88 74 .543 .131
Boston 2011 14 19 .424 90 72 .556 .132
Chi White Sox 2011 11 20 .355 79 83 .488 .133
Cincinnati 2010 12 16 .429 91 71 .562 .133
NY Yankees 2011 13 15 .464 97 65 .599 .135
Boston 2016 14 18 .438 93 69 .574 .136
San Francisco 2015 13 21 .382 84 78 .519 .137
Toronto 2006 12 18 .400 87 75 .537 .137
Houston 2006 11 19 .367 82 80 .506 .139
San Diego 2009 10 21 .323 75 87 .463 .140
LA Dodgers 2008 11 18 .379 84 78 .519 .140
San Francisco 2016 13 20 .394 87 75 .537 .143
Texas 2011 13 16 .448 96 66 .593 .145
NY Mets 2012 9 20 .310 74 88 .457 .147
LA Angels 2013 10 20 .333 78 84 .481 .148
Florida 2009 12 19 .387 87 75 .537 .150
Washington 2006 9 23 .281 71 91 .438 .157
Texas 2012 12 17 .414 93 69 .574 .160
Pittsburgh 2013 13 18 .419 94 68 .580 .161
Cincinnati 2013 13 20 .394 90 72 .556 .162
San Francisco 2008 9 23 .281 72 90 .444 .163
Philadelphia 2008 12 18 .400 92 70 .568 .168
Philadelphia 2009 13 19 .406 93 69 .574 .168
Philadelphia 2007 11 18 .379 89 73 .549 .170
Tampa Bay 2012 10 16 .385 90 72 .556 .171
LA Dodgers 2013 13 20 .394 92 70 .568 .174
Pittsburgh 2012 9 20 .310 79 83 .488 .178
Cleveland 2012 7 22 .241 68 94 .420 .179
NY Mets 2007 12 21 .364 88 74 .543 .179
Chi White Sox 2008 11 19 .367 89 74 .546 .179
LA Dodgers 2009 15 22 .405 95 67 .586 .181
Atlanta 2016 6 20 .231 68 93 .422 .191
Washington 2012 12 17 .414 98 64 .605 .191
Boston 2008 8 13 .381 95 67 .586 .205
Pittsburgh 2016 8 21 .276 78 83 .484 .208
Chi White Sox 2006 10 19 .345 90 72 .556 .211
Texas 2010 10 19 .345 90 72 .556 .211
LA Dodgers 2014 7 12 .368 94 68 .580 .212
NY Mets 2016 8 17 .320 87 75 .537 .217
Boston 2006 9 20 .310 86 76 .531 .221
Texas 2015 9 19 .321 88 74 .543 .222
Atlanta 2012 10 18 .357 94 68 .580 .223
Arizona 2011 12 25 .324 94 68 .580 .256
Chi Cubs 2016 11 19 .367 103 58 .640 .273

If you are desperate to find some pattern or trend for your particular team, here are the aggregate totals for each squad over the last 11 years. The Royals spring training squad has consistently out-performed the regular season group (even with two pennants and one World Championship).  If the Dodgers start slow, don’t worry . . . they pick it up when the games count.

Team ST W ST L ST PCT RS W RS L RS PCT DIFF
Kansas City 183 149 .551 832 950 .467 .084
Colorado 177 150 .541 835 948 .468 .073
Minnesota 179 158 .531 851 933 .477 .054
LA Angels 195 136 .589 970 812 .544 .045
FLO/MIA 159 153 .510 830 950 .466 .043
Seattle 167 165 .503 835 947 .469 .034
Detroit 191 147 .565 950 831 .533 .032
Oakland 172 154 .528 889 892 .499 .028
Toronto 170 150 .531 909 873 .510 .021
Cleveland 173 160 .520 889 891 .499 .020
Milwaukee 170 162 .512 881 901 .494 .018
Arizona 174 179 .493 851 931 .478 .015
Tampa Bay 159 147 .520 902 881 .506 .014
San Diego 161 169 .488 847 936 .475 .013
Cincinnati 172 172 .500 869 913 .488 .012
Houston 149 178 .456 793 988 .445 .010
Chi Cubs 172 179 .490 877 902 .493 -.003
St. Louis 163 137 .543 975 806 .547 -.004
Baltimore 146 165 .469 850 931 .477 -.008
San Francisco 181 184 .496 914 867 .513 -.017
Atlanta 162 170 .488 905 876 .508 -.020
NY Mets 162 172 .485 904 878 .507 -.022
Philadelphia 159 171 .482 919 863 .516 -.034
NY Yankees 173 155 .527 1010 772 .567 -.039
Washington 143 177 .447 869 911 .488 -.041
Pittsburgh 136 190 .417 830 950 .466 -.049
Boston 158 167 .486 959 823 .538 -.052
Texas 154 172 .472 941 842 .528 -.055
Chi White Sox 135 192 .413 872 911 .489 -.076
LA Dodgers 147 182 .447 966 815 .542 -.096

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