But are teams such as the Royals or Dodgers really in better shape for a return postseason run just because they've had winning springs?
Recent history would suggest there is little to support that notion, as one would need to go back to 2010 to find any strong correlation between spring and regular-season success.
Here's a look at how some of the top spring teams in each of the past five years went on to fare during their respective regular seasons.
No matter how you slice it, last year was as good a reminder as any that Spring Training success doesn't always carry over to the regular season. Of the five teams that finished with the best spring records -- the Rays, Indians, Angels, Mariners and Marlins -- not only were the Angels the only club to make the postseason, they were the only one to even parlay its spring success into a winning record in the month of April. As for the 10 teams that did make the postseason, only two -- the Angels and Giants -- won more than 15 games in Spring Training.
The 2013 season was a bit different in that out of the five teams that finished Spring Training with the best records, four went on to post winning records in the month of April. Even still, only two of those five teams went on to make the postseason, while the teams with the best three Spring Training records -- the Royals, Orioles and Mariners -- all missed the cut. The eventual World Series-champion Red Sox, meanwhile, had followed up their last-place 2012 season with a mediocre 17-17 spring. Overall, only five of the 10 postseason teams in 2013 finished Spring Training with a winning record.
Similar to 2013, only half of the 10 postseason qualifiers in 2012 were better than .500 in Spring Training, and the teams that had success in the spring didn't exactly come out firing on all cylinders. Neither the Tigers nor the Athletics, both of whom finished with a top-three Spring Training record and went on to eventually make the postseason, put up a winning record in the month of April.
It was more of the same in 2011, when the top five Spring Training records belonged to the Giants, Royals, Rockies, Brewers and Twins. From that group, only the Brewers went on to make the postseason -- and that was only after recovering from a 13-19 start en route to finishing with a 96-66 record. As for the eventual World Series-champion Cardinals, they finished Spring Training with a 14-16 record, including losses in eight of their last 11 games. That didn't stop them, however, from posting an NL Central-leading 16-10 mark in April en route to finishing the year 90-72.
This was the last time the eventual World Series champion finished Spring Training with a top-five record. In fact, it's also the last time that the top overall team from Spring Training went on to make the postseason. Those honors belonged to the Giants and Rays, respectively. San Francisco finished atop the Cactus League with a 23-12 record before capturing its first World Series title since 1954 -- and what proved to be the first of three over the past five years. As for the Rays, they built off a Major League-best 20-8 record in Spring Training by going an Major League-best 17-6 in April. They rolled it all into an American League-best 96-win season before being eliminated in the Division Series.