Watson: The best of spring training sample sizes

From SABR member Owen Watson at FanGraphs on February 25, 2015:

Finally, after what seems like an age, the appointed heroes amongst us mortal men and women have descended upon the ebullient corner of the nation, ball and glove in hand, to throw and to catch. Yes, it still snows 12 inches every week in the Northeast, but the dream is once again here — may we all rejoice in the date of winter’s true passing.

In honor of the fine March spectacle we’re about to witness, or rather to honor the sometimes low-level professional baseball that passes for spectacle because of the state of our desperation, I thought it might be a good exercise to relive some of the glories of past spring trainings. The reason for this is twofold: to remind everyone that spring training stats are next to worthless, and also to celebrate how weird baseball can be when constrained to a small sample size. Today we’re going to revel in the fact that we’re playing the game again by looking at freak occurrences that can only happen in Arizona in March.

Further, these events are cherry-picked for their level of achievement by players unaccustomed to them: feats of baseball that happen rarely, if ever, during the regular season for these hitters and pitchers. Spanning the last five years, they are presented here for your enjoyment, and to commemorate the one-month heroes that the onset of April destroys. If video archives of spring training were a little better, we may have been treated to stretching the timeline a little further: sadly, it is not so, and those events are lost to pre-GIF antiquity. Now, onto the past five Marches:

Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-best-of-spring-training-small-sample-sizes/

Originally published: February 25, 2015. Last Updated: February 25, 2015.