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A False Spring?
April 02, 2007
How much does preseason success really mean?
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April 02, 2007

A False Spring?

How much does preseason success really mean?

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HEADING INTO the final week of spring training, Cincinnati had the NL's best record, while Texas was the top AL team. But if the Reds and the Rangers start feeling chesty, they should ask the Royals how important Grapefruit and Cactus League games are. Since 1996 Kansas City has a .554 preseason winning percentage—they were the AL's best spring team twice—but they've never finished better than third in the regular season during that span. Since MLB went to three divisions in 1994, in fact, the team with the best exhibition mark in each league has made the playoffs less than half the time. Here's where the top spring teams in each league have finished since '94.

FIRST PLACE
(15.4%)
The '05 Angels become the fourth team to win their division after finishing with their league's best spring record. None of the four has won the World Series.

SECOND PLACE
Wild Card (23.1%)
The '97 Marlins—who go on to win the Series—put up the best spring winning percentage (.839) since 1990.

SECOND PLACE
No Playoff (7.7%)

THIRD PLACE
(30.8%)

FOURTH PLACE
(19.2%)
The '96 Angels become the first spring pennant winner to finish last when they follow their 21--10 March mark with a 70--91 regular season.

FIFTH PLACE
(3.8%)
In their final, horrid season in Montreal the '04 Expos play .633 ball in Florida, then need 58 games—until June 10—to surpass their spring total of 19 wins.

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