Pirates examples why you should take Spring Training stats with a grain of salt

There are plenty of examples in the Pirates' recent history to show why you should take Spring Training stats with a grain of salt.
Feb 26, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (36) throws a
Feb 26, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (36) throws a / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Edinson Volquez

The Pirates signed Edinson Volquez in the 2013-2014 off-season to serve as one of their starting pitchers. Volquez was coming off a season where he led the league in earned runs allowed while also having a 1.59 WHIP, sub-20% K-rate, and 9.9% walk rate. So when Volquez came out and pitched horribly in Spring Training, fans were understandably uneasy about how he’d do with the Pirates.

Volquez pitched 14 innings in the Spring, allowing a whopping 15 earned runs. He handed out seven walks and only struck out a dozen batters. Batters hit .317 against him with three home runs. On average, he nearly allowed two hits and walks per inning with a 1.86 WHIP. But Volquez didn’t let poor Spring Training define his 2014 season.

Volquez then went on to pitch 192.2 innings, the most he had pitched since 2008 up to that point in his career. The veteran right-hander had a 3.04 ERA, 4.15 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP in those frames. Although he had a poor 17.3% strikeout rate, he did have a respectable 8.8% walk rate and 0.79 HR/9 rate. He had an ERA of 2.20 in the second half of the season, earning him the nod in the 2014 Wild Card game.

Although Volquez did not do well in his one Postseason game for the Pirates, he turned an ERA over 9.00 in Spring Training to an ERA in the very low 3.00s in nearly 200 IP. He ended up as a major reason why the team returned to the Postseason in 2014, and was arguably their best pitcher that season.