There’s a little known trick to predicting surprise teams in a given Major League Baseball season. With apologies to the stat-heads around who are going to want me to list the surprise teams this method has predicted, I’m going to keep this simple: if you take a team and view their record in games decided by one run, and then view their Spring Training record in the subsequent season, you can often predict that a team who disappointed in a previous season is poised to surprise. Individually, the records are usually attributed to luck, fluke, etc. Nobody cares about Spring Training records – and rightfully so.
Maybe we should have seen the St. Louis Cardinals coming last year – in 2008, their record in 1-run games was 24-28, and in 2009, they lit up Spring Training to the tune of a 19-12 record. Yes, mid-season additions helped the Cards, but you get the point.
So why am I telling you this?
In 2009, the Chicago Cubs’ record in 1-run games was just 16-22. In 2010, the Chicago Cubs’ record in Spring Training was 18-12.
Just throwing it out there.