It is Amazing How People Overreact to a Small Statistical Sample Size

Tuesday April 17th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): The opening of the 2012 baseball season remains interesting and unpredictable. Although we are dealing with such a small sample size and people tend to overreact (approximately 10 games), there a lot of early season performances to that deserved to be examined a little closer.


Before we go making Matt Kemp comparisons, Chris Young is clearly benefiting from a new approach at the plate. Young has always displayed the ability to hit for great power and speed, but just lacked in the average department. However, he made significant mechanical adjustments in the offseason and his new approach has been successful since the spring, when he batted .400. His .405/5/13/2 stat line is clearly unsustainable, but lets not forget he is only 28 years of age and might finally be figuring out how to consistently put it together. What might be most telling of his improvement is his 4:5 strikeout to walk total after 10 games, from a guy who has throughout his career averaged a ratio of 3.3:7.4. This could be the year that the average is .270-280 to accompany his 30/30 potential, making him a top-level talent.

Adam Jones
(.33/4/5/3) of the Baltimore Orioles has also appeared to make many adjustments and could be on his way to a .290/20/90/20 season. He worked with Brian Roberts in the offseason and appears to be a much smarter and better base stealer (3-3) and seems primed to surpass twenty swiped bags. He will also benefit from an improved lineup, and let’s not forget that his only 26 years of age and thus only supposed to get better. He only needs moderate improvement in each of the five categories over the next few years to become elite. He has only one more season left on his contract after 2012 and is playing for his big contract. Teammate Matt Wieters also seems to be fully realizing his potential and has impressive power, but not at the cost of average as such is the case with many other catchers. 


I raved about Starlin Castro during spring training and he has not disappointed. He could put up Elvis Andrus speed but with a .320 average and 70 runs batted in. He is special.


The number of useful pitchers available on the waiver wires is striking, even in my 15-team league. Take a flier of Lance Lynn if he is available. In two starts he owns 2 wins and a 1.50 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. He looks to have pitched his way into the rotation, even when Chris Carpenter returns. He has had success all throughout the minors and is in a favorable division.


Henderson Alvarez, despite his ability to miss bats, has already proven to be a useful pitcher based on matchups. However, he will frequently face the Red Sox and Yankees, but still worth owning in many leagues.


Even Aaron Harang, who had a bounce back year in 2011, remains very useful. He struck out 13 Padres hitters is 6 innings in his last start and plays in a pitching friendly ballpark and a favorable division.

As people are still unsure what to make of slow and fast starts, to your bust to buy low and sell high. Remember, especially in roto leagues, you are playing for 162 games of stats and not ten. Therefore, I am not worried about Albert Pujols or any other established, yet slumping hitters. Even Miguel Cabrera is enduring an atypical slump and Eric Hosmer has cooled down since his red-hot start. However, I am encouraged by the lack of strikeouts with Hosmer. All three of these guys will produce at a top-level over the course of a full season.


Tim Lincecum, however, I am definitely worried about with the drop of velocity and then increase of walks, in addition to the high number of innings he has logged over the years. Let’s not forget that scouts for years have feared the toll that his windup and delivery might take on his body.


Josh Willingham’s start is really impressive, but it’s not like this guy hasn’t had streaks like this before. Ultimately, I think the unfavorable ballpark limits his value and this is the type of guy to sell high on. Austin Jackson, a notorious fat starter has seemingly made major improvements, but still a guy I would try to sell high. The same is true with David Freese. People will drink the kool-aid after last October and his .406/3/11 start. He can definitely mash, but his value will never get higher and he does have a history of trouble staying on the field.


It must be fun to own Stephen Strasburg. Yes, his innings will be capped, but he is really mowing throw hitters and has learned how to pitch and not rely on throwing 100 mph.


That is all I have for this week, but do your best to sell high and buy low after these two weeks. Yet still keep in mind the factors that might lead to such starts.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein)***

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Posted on April 17, 2012, in Players: Fantasy Baseball Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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