Look, I’m the first person to tell you that spring training is a meaningless tool for determining future results.
The White Sox went 14-18 during spring training in 2005 and won the World Series. So there’s that.
But there’s also Kris Bryant, the Cubs phenom who has turned the Cactus League into his own personal batting cage.
And what Bryant is doing for excitable Cubs fans is anything but meaningless. He’s on pace for arguably the best spring training performance in nearly a decade.
MLB’s sortable spring training stats only go back to 2006, so we can’t know whether Bryant is having the best spring training ever.
But it’s hard to argue his spring is on pace to be the best since 2006:
Bryant’s numbers so far:
8 home runs
.552 on-base percentage
It’s an incredibly small sample size, sure. But that’s what spring training is.
Here’s the home run leaders from spring training’s past
2014: Four tied with 6 HR
2013: Michael Morse 9 HR (56 AB)
2012: Three tied with 7 HR
2011: Jake Fox 11 HR (74 AB)
2010: Chris Johnson 8 HR (62 AB)
2009: Ryan Howard 10 HR (75 AB)
2008: Ivan Rodriguez 8 HR (59 AB)
2007: Aramis Ramirez 8 HR (67 AB)
2006: Ryan Howard 11 HR (85 AB)
What’s remarkable is that Bryant has as many or more home runs than many of these spring leaders in less than half of the at-bats.
The Cubs still have 10 spring games left.
Here’s some of the best spring training performances I could find since 2006:
Eric Hosmer in 2012: 83 AB, 5 HR, 29 RBI, .398/.453/.675
Alex Gordon in 2011: 70 AB, 7 2B, 6 HR, 23 RBI, .343/.459/.729
Ryan Howard in 2009: 75 AB, 10 HR, 24 RBI, .333/.420/.760
Derrek Lee in 2007: 68 AB, 12 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBI, .471/.486/.809
Of course, none of this is going to change whether Bryant is on the Cubs come opening day. Chicago will (and should!) send Bryant down for a few weeks to retain a year of control before he reaches free agency.
It will be somewhat comical, though, to think that Bryant could have the best spring of any player in baseball over the last decade and still not break camp with the team.