Strategy room: Early-season stats often reveal little of full story
Something you hear time and again this time of season is that if this two-week stretch to begin the year occurred later, you would think nothing of it, good or bad. The reason for so much knee-jerk concern is these two weeks are all that we see in the year to date stats column. And it never hurts to be reminded that some players start hot, elevating your team in the standings, giving you points you can lose in the blink of an eye.
So I thought it would be fun to go back to last season and choose three arbitrary 14-day spans and check out some of the outlying performances. The lesson will be that since we did not do anything reactionary then, we should not do anything drastic now. There is nothing special about the three chose time frames. Any trio would have rendered ample examples of hot and cold streaks.
First let us see what happened from May 19 through June 8.
How about the strugglers?
And the arms?
Let us move on a few months and see what happened between July 27 and August 9.
Old friend Morgan hit .321 with 6 steals. Zimmerman hit .489 with 6 homers.
For the hurlers, the presently unemployed
And finally, let's take a look from Sept. 7 to Sept. 20.
By this point, I am hoping you are saying enough already, we get it. Over a two-week period, anything can happen. Please stop spewing numbers like batting average and ERA that contain a bunch of noise and are relatively meaningless in such a small sample. But now you know how I feel when I am asked if getting
Let us conclude with something a little more constructive. When discussing small samples, there are two typical questions. The first is just how long should we wait before we can rightfully get nervous? Second, is there anything we can look at to help filter out the noise in a two-week sample for both hitters and pitchers?
It really matters what stat you are looking at. And to be frank, you should really be focusing on the component stats like HR/FB, walk rate and contact rate as opposed to batting average and home runs. The same goes for pitchers. Do not focus on ERA and wins but K/9 and BB/9. It usually takes between one and two months to get a decent predictive sample for this data. So as hard as it be, try to hold out until Memorial Day before really panicking on a player.