Friday, April 3, 2009

Evaluating Players In Spring Training

Spring TrainingPaul DePodesta explains why spring training is a bad time to evaluate personnel:
The fact is that the game is fundamentally different in spring training than it is when the regular season opens. Here is a list, albeit not exhaustive, of the reasons that spring training performance is unreliable:

- Sample size - always a killer

- Ballparks - the ball jumps in Arizona almost like pre-humidor Coors Field

- Game conditions - teams play primarily day games with a "high sky" in Arizona

- Competition - Major Leaguers play early in games and minor leaguers in the late innings, so someone can pad their stats by playing in the late innings

- Preparedness - some players are coming off of full winter ball seasons while others are coming off of surgery

- Game plan - teams don't really try to win spring training games, so players aren't always put in the most advantageous situations

- Varying objectives - some players are working on adding a new pitch, while others are trying to make a team

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