The study of the Gutenberg-Richter (GR) parameters a and b has been very important to describe and characterize the seismicity over the different seismic provinces around the world. As far as we know, the possible correlation between the GR parameters a and b has not received enough attention. Bayrak et al. reported the a and b values for 27 active seismic regions around the boundaries of the main tectonic plates of the world. From these data, we found that there exists a positive correlation between the a and b parameters (R = 0.85, R2 = 0.72). On the other hand, we made around 150 computer runs of a spring-block model proposed by Olami et al. (Phys Rev Lett 68(8):1244–1247, 1992). This model roughly emulates the interaction between two fault planes and it reaches a self-organized critical state. With these simulations, we also found that the a and b parameters are positively correlated. Motivated by these results, we propose an analytical demonstration that indeed a and b are positively correlated. In addition, we discuss on other possible applications of the spring-block model to actual seismicity and to frictional experiments made with sandpapers.