RyanRaburnRyan Raburn is off to a blistering start with the bat this spring. He has pounded six extra base hits (four of them home runs) in his 17 plate appearances and now posts a ridiculous 1.937 OPS. His hot start at the plate has some fans hoping that he’ll skip his annual first half swoon this season, and just pound the ball from the get-go.

Unfortunately for Ryan (and the rest of us), his career spring training stats have been a terrible indicator for how he has hit in the season’s first half. Here's a look at his splits over the past four seasons (spring, first half, second half).

 

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Year

Spring OPS

1st Half OPS

2nd Half OPS

2011

.960

.609

.967

2010

1.080

.637

.900

2009

.529

.842

.933

2008

.691

.767

.570


It’s almost (almost) comical how different his first half numbers have been from his spring numbers. Not that we should put any real faith in spring training statistics in the first place, but seriously. You could hardly make the numbers line up any worse if you tried. He numbers show near perfect correlation – in the opposite direction. In each of the last two years, he’s posted fantastic numbers in Lakeland only to completely forget how to hit once the team came north. The two years before that, he struggled in the spring, but posted pretty decent first-half numbers.

Granted, he hasn’t been quite as good in past springs as he’s been so far this year (although there’s no way to maintain a 1.900 OPS), and I wouldn’t be foolish enough to predict a bad first half based on a terrific spring, but we should bear these numbers in mind and temper our expectations once we turn the calendar page to April. This is just another example of how completely meaningless spring stats are. It’s a one month snapshot of players playing part-time against varying levels of competition. It doesn’t guarantee, or really even suggest, regular season success.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to see Raburn smacking the ball. He’s pretty terrible with the glove in the infield, so being well above average with the stick is the only way that he will provide the team much value at second base this season. I still think he has the ability to put together a full season of .800+ OPS baseball, but he’ll need to do just that in order to prove it to us.

Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.