Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Little Thing Called Sample Size

Its this time of year, spring training. Can you feel the excitement in the air!!! Well I can't. The results in spring training are relatively meaningless from a fan standpoint, and extremely meaningless from a fantasy standpoint. Why is that? Well besides the obvious fact that players might not be giving it their "all" (at least the ones who have secured roster spots), its because of sample size.

Players only play in a small number of games, which means only a small number of at bats. In case I need to spell everything out for you, this just happens to work for pitchers as well with their innings pitched. To put it into poetic form, "A small sample of at bats is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get."

I would not be surprised if last year a guy like Xavier Nady out-hit Alex Rodriguez over the course of one week in the MLB season. (perhaps it was near the playoffs?). This means that based on the results of one week of games, the true value of a player is not revealed. Players get lucky/unlucky, they get hot, get cold, and there are just too many variables to even count. Over the course of an entire season, however, those variables tend to even out and tah daaaa! the true value appears.

Of course there are such nuances as unlucky seasons or just plain bad seasons (probably due to injuries). That's where stats like BABIP, FIP, DIPS WHIP, and LIPS ERA come into play. Although I won't explain them today, (BABIP I have in previous articles) Hey! Check back soon another day.

I can rhyme. . . sort of.



No comments: