Dewan: Who are 2013’s breakout players?

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on March 27, 2013:

For the most part, Spring Training statistics provide little predictive value. Many players use that time to play into shape and to work on specific aspects of their game, such as developing a specific pitch. Often, players face less than major-league quality opponents. On top of that, the sample sizes are so small in Spring Training that, even if teams played them as they do the regular season, it would be difficult to predict performance levels for the rest of the season.

However, we have found one element of spring training performance that has some predictive value: power spikes. Players that show a 200-point increase in their slugging percentage over their career levels have performed significantly above their career marks in the upcoming season 60 percent of the time.  Jose Bautista in spring of 2010 is the most famous recent example. Last season, the predictions nailed the breakout performances among catchers in Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Lucroy, and A.J. Pierzynski. Cody Ross, Billy Butler, and Tyler Colvin also enjoyed career years.

Here’s the list of 2013 breakout candidates (with a minimum of 200 regular season at-bats and 40 spring training at-bats through March 26, 2013).

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 28, 2013. Last Updated: March 28, 2013.