The Mariners and Their Spring Training Offense

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):

2012

Month Games Runs HR BA OPS Runs/Game HR/Game
March 26 162 28 .297 .836 6.2 1.08
April 24 94 22 .238 .663 3.9 0.92
May 29 124 24 .231 .675 4.3 0.83
June 27 97 23 .232 .642 3.6 0.85
July 26 108 19 .232 .652 4.2 0.73
August 27 95 28 .225 .641 3.5 1.04
September 29 101 33 .244 .708 3.5 1.14

 

2011

Month Games Runs HR BA OPS Runs/Game HR/Game
March 31 127 25 .253 .713 4.1 0.81
April 28 109 16 .235 .656 3.9 0.57
May 26 84 13 .228 .614 3.2 0.50
June 27 84 24 .219 .631 3.1 0.88
July 26 72 12 .218 .574 2.8 0.46
August 28 121 22 .273 .736 4.3 0.79
September 27 86 22 .222 .620 3.2 0.81

 

2010

Month Games Runs HR BA OPS Runs/Game HR/Game
March 32 149 23 .264 .749 4.7 0.79
April 23 82 9 .240 .653 3.6 0.39
May 27 101 21 .240 .667 3.7 0.78
June 27 86 19 .243 .658 3.2 0.70
July 28 75 14 .219 .590 2.7 0.50
August 27 85 19 .238 .643 3.2 0.70
September 30 84 19 .235 .618 2.8 0.63

 

2009

Month Games Runs HR BA OPS Runs/Game HR/Game
March 37 249 47 .312 .862 6.7 1.27
April 22 93 15 .262 .683 4.2 0.68
May 29 104 29 .255 .709 3.6 1.00
June 25 99 29 .270 .757 4.0 1.16
July 27 100 22 .249 .689 3.7 0.81
August 29 129 34 .257 .725 4.5 1.17
September 30 115 31 .257 .726 3.8 1.03

 

What does this all mean? Well let’s just take a look at runs per game:

Year Spring Training Regular Season % Difference
2009 6.7 4.0 40.29
2010 4.7 3.2 31.91
2011 4.1 3.4 17.07
2012 6.2 3.8 38.71
2013 6.5 ???

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.

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