Carlos Pena's 2007 spring is perhaps the best performance in spring history. Remember when Carlos Pena sent every pitch in sight 500 feet the other way? How he found holes with such skill that ants were jealous? Oh, and when he hit that one shot off Curt Schilling that set the tone for the rest of the spring?
Great memories right?
One problem: right now either you're scratching your head, void of these "memories", or you're lying to yourself. Pena's 2007 spring was atrocious. In 42 at-bats Pena had nine hits - none of which were homeruns - and a .310 slugging percentage. Awful, right? Then Pena turned into Albert Pujols and posted a six-win season.
During that same spring, Akinori Iwamura had a sub-200 batting average and slugged less than .300. Jorge Velandia had a SLG equal to B.J. Upton, and Shawn Riggans had a SLG near .500. Funny how those worked out, right? Heck, Ivan Rodriguez had six homeruns in 35 at-bats last spring. In 429 regular season at-bats, he had seven.
I think Marc Normandin said it best:
The reality of the situation, however, is that these occurrences rarely portend improved play. Just because we want our favorite scrub to be capable of continuing to slug .500 for more than these four weeks does not mean he will. On the other hand, it also doesn't mean that all of the numbers accumulated in the preseason are worthless.
There are instances of deity-like performances leading to regular season success, but just don't count on it and at the same time don't fret over a weak spring.