The small sample sizes and the questionable level of competition are two things that make Spring Training stats not a particularly good barometer of how a player will do once the regular season starts. People love to point out how Player X did great/poor in Grapefruit League action, only to turn around and do poor/great once the regular season starts. And those absolutely happen and on a regular basis, too.

But you know what else happens? Players following up on their Spring results with similar play in the regular season. Maybe if we paid more attention to Jacob deGrom’s work in Spring Training in 2014, we wouldn’t have been surprised by what he did when he got the call to the majors later that year. Brandon Nimmo was thought to have a ceiling of a fourth outfielder at the time but then raked in Florida in 2018 and shined once he got the chance to play later that year. Before he made his MLB debut, Pete Alonso had a four-digit OPS in 2019 Spring Training and then went on to hit 53 HR in the regular season.

Ultimately, it’s not a big difference in looking at 30-50 Spring Training PA or some random 30-50 PA sample during the season. You might get something representative and you might not. So, we can acknowledge the limitations of numbers posted in Florida, yet still believe that there’s perhaps something predictive in there at times, too.

So, gaze into your crystal ball and see which small sample in Grapefruit League play has the most meaning for how the player will do in the regular season in 2024:

Which Spring performance will turn out predictive?

  • Starling Marte's everything ugly in 23 PA (42%, 5 Votes)
  • Francisco Alvarez' .273 AVG in 26 PA (25%, 3 Votes)
  • Tylor Megill's 15 Ks and 2 BB in 12 IP (17%, 2 Votes)
  • Brett Baty's .670 OPS in 32 PA (8%, 1 Votes)
  • Sean Reid-Foley's 7 Ks and 1 BB in 4 IP (8%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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17 comments on “Poll: Which small sample in Florida will be predictive in the regular season?

  • Metsense

    Alvarez will improve he BA but not that much.
    Marte’s hitting has diminished but not that bad.
    Megill isn’t that good but he should improve this year.
    Reid-Foley’s would be a folly as the right choice.
    That leaves Baty. His major league time so far makes it the betting choice.

    • AgingBull

      I agree wholeheartedly with your logic; it’s impeccable. But I hope you are wrong about Baty. It’s hard to be bullish but I hope he surprises.

  • Metstabolism

    I would say that this poll is a bit premature. The Mets have played 17 spring games thus far, and have 14 remaining on the schedule (not counting the breakout game). Over the last few days, a couple of players have looked a it better, while others show signs of cooling down.
    This is one of the great problems with spring training perceptions. People form them too early. I’ve seen numerous instances in which a player got off to a hot start, then completely cratered in Week 3. But the press and the fans already have it in their heads that someone has had a “great” spring. Glaring case in point was Baty’s 1-for-15 with 7 strikeouts, 4 walks, and 1 HBP over the last 14 days of spring. And yet, the fans and press went into an absolute uproar when the Mets sent him down at the end of spring.
    I’d strongly encourage everyone to watch the games, if possible, and check the box scores daily, rather than relying on the final stats which, in a small sample, can be easily skewed by an aberrant hot or col streak. Luck is also a factor. Zack Short is hitting the ball harder and more squarely with more frequency than Iglesias or Wendle. But often right at someone. Over hundreds of PAs, these abnormalities even themselves out. Over 50, not so much.

  • ChrisF

    I dont think anything is a predictor, even if it’s a 100% match, The variables are so different that any similarity is just coincidental. If we say 91% of the time there is no connection between ST and reg season, then theres just random noise that looks like a prediction. I see it basically as a broken clock is 100% correct 2x a day.

    My fear is that Bret Baty is not a major leaguer, but thats more based on last season, Unless he sees Hank Aaron in a dream and becomes something he hasn’t shown, he could be gone before the August heat rolls into Queens.

  • Woodrow

    Give the kids a chance,give the kids a chance. Then when they don’t perform in ST it’s panic time. ST is nothing! Let’s give them their 25 games and 100 ABs before we write them off IF we believe in them. I don’t think Vientos is a MLer, Baty I have more faith in.

  • NYM6986

    I voted for Megill because this is a critical year for him to make the rotation or to start making moving plans. Given the uncertain status of the rotation, it is a critical year for the Mets to have him hit his stride. Maybe that additional pitch will do the trick. I also look for bigger things from Francisco Alvarez to be more selective at the plate and also to hit 35+ home runs. Fingers crossed.

    • Metstabolism

      Why is this a critical year for Megill? He has two options remaining, and the club is losing at least three starters to free agency this season, maybe four.

      • NYM6986

        Mostly because he has just not lived up to his potential when given multiple chances and if not this year, it’s time to move on for him. It will be his 4th season with the big club and a career ERA that approaches 5.00 is not something for a starter that is sustainable. Just my opinion.

        • Metstabolism

          I’m not sure what potential you mean. He was a surprise call-up and has done better than anyone projected. Right now, he is a BOTR or quad-A starter. Teams need those types, and typically use 10 to 12 starters a year now. If that is all he is, then that is all he is. He gets used in that capacity until his options run out, or the team accumulates players who are better than him for those roles.

          • Metsense

            I completely agree. The problem is that the Mets don’t agree with us. Butto good spring but he hasn’t many chances.
            Lucchesi is the forgotten man. He has better career stats and more experience. The Mets had their minds made up before spring training.

  • Metstabolism

    Perhaps. But I’m not sure that any of that matters. The reality is that all of them are marginal pitchers at this point. Saying that one ‘deserves’ it more than another is, at best, hair-splitting. And they’re all going to be on this merry-go-round all year long. They’re all going to get rotated in and out of that spot all year long. There’s really no such thing as a true fifth starter, IMO. They’re a lot like bigfoot, IMO: lots of sightings, but there’s still no proof that they really exist. Sure, a team names someone their “fifth” starter. But its never long before his erratic, or sub-par performance means he gives away to another candidate.

    • Brian Joura

      If you think your SP5 is going to make 32 starts you’re probably going to be disappointed. But only 27 SP last year made at least 32 starts so odds are that if you think your SP2 is going to make 32 starts you’re going to be disappointed. Here’s how it worked out with 2023 final MLB numbers:

      SP1 – Between 31-35 starts
      SP2 – Between 27-31 starts
      SP3 – Between 23-27 starts
      SP4 – Between 19-23 starts
      SP5 – Between 12-19 starts

      The low numbers after SP1 are due to injuries, ineffectiveness and days off which allow a pitcher to be bumped. Last year, the Mets assembled their rotation so that Carlos Carrasco was their fifth starter, behind Verlander, Scherzer, Quintana and Senga. He made 20 starts, which exceeded the MLB average range of 12-19.

      It’s hard to know who all 30 teams consider to be their fifth starter. If someone was, say, a Twins fan, they likely wouldn’t have thought Carrasco was the Mets’ planned fifth starter. But if somehow we knew that information, my guess is that the majority of them make at least 12 starts.

      Before we claim that fifth starters are like Bigfoot, I think we need to have a realistic definition of what an SP5 really is. And I know that is not far off from what you’re saying. It’s just that the Bigfoot line isn’t fair.

      • TexasGusCC

        Brian, I’m sorry, but I don’t follow. In your breakdown, that’s only 135 starts if each achieves the higher number. The individual pitcher may change, but the slot they are in, won’t. There are 27 more starts to be accounted for, or one a week.

        • Brian Joura

          So, you think teams only use 5 SP?

          • TexasGusCC

            No, not the individual pitchers, just the rotation spots.

            • Brian Joura

              That would take a staggering amount of research to do with the tools available to me.

              Edit: Just to add some perspective, it’s not unusual for me to do 2 hours of research (not writing) on a piece. I’m not sure what you’re looking for could be done with 100 hours of research. And that’s with making a bunch of assumptions that assuredly aren’t true.

              • Metsense

                I appreciate all the research you do. Thanks.

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