The Mariners offense is lighting it up in Spring Training! They lead the majors with 43 home runs and are second in total runs scored. It is time to get excited!!
Nah, if you are getting excited about the Mariners offensive barrage, just remember 2 things – those games are being played in 80 degree weather at 2000 feet, where the ball really tends to carry (as opposed to 45 degrees and sea level which is pretty much Seattle in April and May), and SPRING TRAINING STATS ARE RARELY AN INDICATION OF REGULAR SEASON PERFORMANCE. Spring Training stats usually involve a ton of at bats against guys who will not make the majors or are trying to work out some stuff, which leads to more offense. You doubt me – here is the last 4 seasons with a monthly breakdown for the M’s hitters. I included 2009 since that was the last season the Mariners hitters were not historically bad.
The ugly truth after the jump.
Including spring training (for all years, those are the March totals):
What does this all mean? Well let’s just take a look at runs per game:
|Year||Spring Training||Regular Season||% Difference|
The Mariners over the last 4 seasons have produced exactly 1 month where they scored more than their Spring Training average per game. Heck, the Mariners have produced exactly 5 months where they scored more than 4.0 runs a game (to put it into perspective, the league average in 2012 was 4.45 runs per game).
Given that the Mariners produce roughly 30% more offense at Spring Training in Arizona, I would project that the Mariners will probably put up about 4.25 runs a game this season, accounting for the “improved” lineup and the fences moving in. That would be about 688 runs for the season, which means that they would have been 12th in the AL last season instead of last. That might mean that this is a 77 win team instead of a 75 win team.
What about the impact on pitching? Well that is for another post.