With spring training games around the corner, fans often ask whether or not they should care about the quality of their team's spring training performance. And the answer in many cases is yes. Although Spring Training is not directly indicative of season performance in the division standings, the teams that are atop the standings generally make it to the playoffs and go fairly far.
Using 2010 as an example, the Rays were the leaders in the Grapefruit League and they challenged the Rangers in the AL Division Series. In the Cactus League, San Francisco stood atop the standings, and we all know that they won the World Series. As for the Angels, they were in the top 3 almost every year they made the playoffs, whilst in the '10 season which they did not make the playoffs they were in the middle of the standings below Kansas City. In '09, the Angels best playoff run for over 4 years, they were in 1st place.
However, there are anomalies. The Rangers went 10 and 19 in 2010 when they hit the World Series. In past years, the Rangers stood close to the Angels' record in Spring Training but were typically below it. In 2006, the Angels were in 1st place in the Cactus League but did not make the playoffs. This is purely an anomaly as Spring performance in 2003 was poor as was '10. In the Rangers' case, the "energy conservation" argument could be used but can be struck out by their below .500 season start.
In conclusion, many teams have succeeded in achieving playoff glory with or without a productive spring training, however in the case of the Angels there appears to be a fairly strong correlation. I would advise that we all pay close attention this preseason and hope for dominance, as it could be the first indicator of a very successful 2011 season.