Spring training is an interesting thing from a betting perspective - at least in terms of what it can or can't teach us about what to expect going forward. Sometimes spring can be a sign of things to come - teams that thrive in the spring can go on to have a great season, and teams that struggle in spring can struggle all year. Other times, though, what happens in the spring means nothing - the team that struggles badly in Florida or Arizona is the team that wins the World Series.
Because of the uncertainty you really can't base too much on the spring - at least not on anything other than a case-by-case basis. Still, it's a good exercise to look at what is going on for different teams down south to figure out what, if anything, can be learned. Here's a look at three of the more interesting storylines coming out of spring:
Arizona has offense: The Diamondbacks have scored 182 runs so far this spring. No other team has scored more than 147. Now, you have to take this with a grain of salt - only one team has played more games than the Diamondbacks, and teams rarely field their best roster in spring so what we are seeing is not necessarily a representation of what we can expect during the season. Still, it's clear that the coaching staff is focusing on scoring a lot of runs and that they have some tools capable of doing just that. Add in a pretty good rotation - led by the great Zack Greinke - and you certainly have a team to keep an eye on. They are an impressive 19-4 so far this spring - which is six more wins than any other team in the Cactus League has.
Toronto might not miss David Price after all: The Jays made headlines this offseason when they didn't even make an offer to keep David Price in town. They didn't replace him with another big-name starter, either - unless you are really optimistic about Jesse Chavez for some reason. Instead, they largely looked to work with what they had. It won't be just the same rotation without Price, though. Marcus Stroman is here for the full season after missing much of last year with an ACL injury, and he will be looking to prove that he is an ace. The last spot in the rotation has been a fight, and so far the best claim for it has been made by Aaron Sanchez, the eighth-inning setup man for much of last year. He has been just brilliant, and that has led this team to a really strong defensive performance so far. They have allowed just 75 runs so far in 19 games - the fewest of any team in the spring. That has them sitting in a familiar spot near the top of the run differential standings - they are third overall and tops in the AL. Unlike the last couple of years, though, that has come from fine-but-not-yet-overwhelming offense and really strong pitching. The offense is going to be sharper during the season - it pretty much can't help it given the talent here. If the pitching can maintain some version of the path it has been on so far then this team could really be dangerous in what is a wide-open three-team race in the AL East.
Don't plan the Mets' parade route just yet - and a bunch of others: The hype entering the season was very high for the Mets. We were supposed to see a three-way tie for the Cy Young amongst the starters and a cruise right to the World Series. I'm obviously not saying that that won't happen - spring doesn't ultimately mean anything - but they really haven't gotten off to the start they would have hoped. They are 7-13, so there are only two teams in the entire Grapefruit League with fewer wins. Of more concern, they have allowed 129 runs, which is only better than the two teams with the least wins. That's 6.5 runs per game - 2.7 more than league-leading Toronto has allowed.
Last season the Mets had, thanks to that rotation, a Top 5 defense, and that was the key to the success they had. It's something they need to work on. They don't need to panic, though, because they clearly aren't alone in the rough start. The defending champs from Kansas City are just 11-15. That's a record that serious World Series contenders the Cubs (8-14), Giants (9-15) and Cardinals (8-11) would long for. It's a big change from last year, though. Then, the Mets had the top record in the Grapefruit League, and the team they lost to in the World Series, the Royals, were a half game out of first in the Grapefruit League. Of course, last year the Rangers had the worst record in the Cactus League by quite a margin, and they went on to win their division.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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