The often offensively challenged Brandon Inge started out the season homering in 3 straight games. While he has dropped off the 162 homer season pace he was on, there is some statistical evidence to suggest that Inge may be on his way to an improved offensive year.
John Dewan of ACTA Sports (the same group that publishes The Fielding Bible) has been looking at spring training performances and how they translate to the regular season. They have found that a very good spring may be an indication of things to come.
For the most part, we agree with the common perception that they don’t have value. A bad spring training means nothing. An average spring training tells us nothing. Nevertheless, we did find that when a player has an exceptional spring, it does suggest a better than a 60% chance they will take their game up a notch.
An exceptional spring is defined as posting a slugging percentage .200 better than career norms. There are 46 such players on this year’s list including one Brandon Inge who rode 5 grapefruit league homers to a .593 slugging percentage which is .202 better than his .392 mark. The surge has been attributed to a new stance and hand position at the plate.
Now as Dewan notes historically there is a 60% shot of improved performance, so it isn’t a guarantee. However those are still some noteworthy odds.