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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A.J. Burnett

We’ll finish it off with my favorite player in Pirates history that I got to watch, A.J. Burnett.

Burnett had a poor 2014 season with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he had a 4.59 ERA, 4.14 FIP, and 1.41 WHIP in 213.2 innings. This was after two very successful seasons with the Pirates in 2012 and 2013. At age 38, it was reasonable to have some suspicions about how Burnett would play in 2015 after he resigned from the Pirates.

Some became even more worried about Burnett after his mediocre Spring Training. In 16.2 innings, he allowed nine earned runs while also walking nine batters. Burnett, who had led the league in K/9 rate in 2013, had struck out just 14 batters. The only silver lining of this was the fact he did not allow a home run.

But Burnett would then go on to have a 3.15 ERA, 3.36 FIP, and 1.36 WHIP in 164 innings pitched. While he saw his K% dip to 20.5%, his 7% walk rate was the second-best single-season mark of his career. Meanwhile, he had a HR/9 rate of 0.60. His 122 ERA+ was the best he had ever posted in his three seasons with the Pirates. On top of all that, he made his first All-Star game after an outstanding first half.