Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A cautionary note about spring statistics, and other thoughts - Chicago Tribune

Unfortunately for Happ, this is the first April of his major-league career, so he doesn’t have a full season under his belt to prove it’s an anomaly. After a couple of hits Friday, Happ was asked if having five hits in eight 8 at-bats over three games was encouraging after his rough start, despite the small sample size.

“That’s a small sample size,” he said of his 41 at-bats. “Just wait until the end of the year.”

Manager Joe Maddon is not likely to give up on Happ, at least not yet, and generally speaking said it’s common for fans to get nervous this time of year.

“There is a lot of overreacting in the beginning part of the season,” Maddon said. “Early in the season a lot of times adrenalin plays (a role), and (even) after the first two or three weeks, you still have to be patient working through April.”

Just ask “Ryno.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:32 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. salvomania Posted: April 17, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5655290)
Few players in Cubs history were more snakebitten at the start of a season than Ryne Sandberg, who had a .230 career average in March and April.

Not a huge deal, but Paul Greenberg has been around long enough to know that during Sandberg's playing career there were no games scheduled in March; so while "March and April" may be technically accurate, it's less precise, and exposes the methodology of a writer who goes to bb-ref and regurgitates the career splits (listed typically as "April/March") without applying any kind of mental filter.
   2. salvomania Posted: April 17, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5655294)
Dumber still is the headline "Can Kris Bryant hit .325?", a number that relates to the article content only in that he is curently hitting .352, which has the same numerals as .325.

Even in my college newspaper days our copy editors would have caught both of those.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5655431)
Sheesh, is it International Nitpicking Day? The important takeaway is that Happ is gonna turn into Ryne Sandberg. I'll take that.
   4. Batman Posted: April 17, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5655440)
Happ is Sandberg and Kris Bryant is a fraud.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 17, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5655454)
Kris Bryant is a fraud
I have it on good authority that he poops his pants.

The important takeaway is that Happ is gonna turn into Ryne Sandberg.
Better keep his girlfriend away from Almora.
   6. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 17, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5655501)
#1 is incredibly pompous even for BTF. The Cubs opened on April 1st in Sandberg's last 2 seasons ('96-'97), and opened on March 31st in '98.
   7. salvomania Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:53 PM (#5655631)
#1 is incredibly pompous even for BTF.

There was never, ever, a regular-season MLB game in March for the vast majority of MLB's existence.

Mentioning any 20th-century player's stats for the month of March is ridiculous---you may as well give his February stats, too.

Wouldn't you think it odd if a writer had mentioned that not only had Luke Appling never appeared in a World Series, he never even appeared in a postseason game? Or commenting that Ron Guidry hit zero career homers?

The first thing I wrote was that it's "not a huge deal"---it just reads odd to anyone who knows baseball history; to anyone who doesn't know baseball history they would think that Ryne Sandberg didn't hit very well in those games he played in March.

The Cubs opened on ... March 31st in '98.

That day is literally the only day ever until the 21st century to feature a regular-season game in March. And it has nothing to do with my comment, as it occurred after Ryne Sandberg's playing career was over.

EDIT: Also if you're an older person like myself---more of my life as an MLB fan has been in the 20th century than in the 21st---it's still weird seeing splits that include the month of March.
   8. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 07:23 AM (#5655792)
#1 is incredibly pompous even for BTF. The Cubs opened on April 1st in Sandberg's last 2 seasons ('96-'97), and opened on March 31st in '98.

This is a really weird rebuttal.
   9. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5655809)
Sheesh, is it International Nitpicking Day?

International Nitpicking Day only occurs on Thursdays in odd-numbered years.

I'm shocked you don't know that.
   10. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5655812)
Combining "March and April" stats is something writers do reflexively now. Nobody cites "March stats" or expects them to add anything to the conversation. Nobody thinks March and April are two separate data points that both support an argument. They use "March and April" as a synonym for April. Because
A) why just cite April stats, why not add the couple games in March as well, if there were any?
B) that's how they are listed when you look up statistics.

Wouldn't you think it odd if a writer had mentioned that not only had Luke Appling never appeared in a World Series, he never even appeared in a postseason game?


It's not like that at all. It's like if someone cited Babe Ruth's postseason numbers, and you came in and said "Er, there was no 'postseason' outside the World Series for many years after Babe retired, and if you say 'postseason' you should include the other postseason exhibitions like the annual Cubs-White Sox city series. This should say 'World Series numbers'."
   11. Zonk wouldn't or would he? Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:33 AM (#5655814)
Well, it's now April 18 and the Cubs still haven't started playing... even though games have been scheduled going back to the last week of March.

So it's confusing times.
   12. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5655815)
Since it is nitpicking day it would be more like someone saying that Babe Ruth had a really good postseason in 1927 and that he performed well in all of the playoff rounds.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM (#5655828)
It's like if someone cited Babe Ruth's postseason numbers,

I hate, hate, hate when an announcer cites some modern players post-season HR (or other stats) and compares it to Ruth or Mantle.

Derek Jeter's 20 post-season HRs are not more than Mantle's 18 or Ruth's 15. It's apples and oranges.
   14. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5655838)
Agreed. Those comparisons should never be made.
   15. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5655854)
The comment was that Greenberg had been around long enough that he should know that Sandberg never played in March as if March opening day being in '98 was 56 in baseball lore for widely known facts. Hey let me verify when each of Sandberg's opening days were held lest some pedant call me a hack for saying March-April when referring to his early season stats doesn't seem a good use of anybody's time. But here I am, so I guess you win.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:39 AM (#5655860)
Here's my announcer nitpick: It bothers me (slightly) when they don't include the post-season when giving individual batter-vs-pitcher stats (or even player-vs-team). Those stats are only really interesting in a narrative sense, and if, for example, I want to hear about the history of Evan Gattis vs CC Sabathia, I sure as hell want to have the Game 7 homer included.
   17. Batman Posted: April 18, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5655905)
International Nitpicking Day began on June 22, 1984. The St. Louis Cardinals celebrated by staying up all night picking nits out of their star relief pitcher's beard. The next day, an exhausted Bruce Sutter pitched to Ryne Sandberg twice, and Sandberg's nickname "Mr. June 23, November 13, and January 18" was born.
   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5655909)
bbref lists month splits with a April/March line.

When a writer looks up these stats, you are expecting the writer to go back through Ryne Sandberg's career and determine exactly how many March games he played?
   19. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 18, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5655911)
No, we expect the writer to be over 40 years old so he sees the idea that Ryne Sandberg played in more than 0 March games as obviously impossible.
   20. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5655949)
I'm over 40 and I didn't know for sure that Sandberg never played in March.
   21. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 18, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5655957)
OK, over 50 then.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: April 18, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5655969)
I had assumed that the first March opening day was one of the games in Japan in 2000 or 2001, but the internet tells me that it was actually in 1996 in Seattle.

So the gripe in #1 would be better with a player whose career didn't end in the 90's.
   23. Zonk wouldn't or would he? Posted: April 18, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5655972)
It's a good thing we have a limited number of Reds fans... otherwise, we'd be due for a rant about Opening Day protocols...
   24. Baldrick Posted: April 18, 2018 at 01:34 PM (#5655978)
So the gripe in #1 would be better with a player whose career didn't end in the 90's.

It would be better, but it would still be pretty silly.
   25. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 18, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5655990)
Nate, I was assured that 1998 was the first season to begin in March, so only an lazy hack like Paul Greenberg(his real name is Sullivan so uhhhh?) would refer to stats as March/April for somebody who played before 1998.

And I'm most annoyed that I'm sort of defending Paul Sullivan.
   26. Batman Posted: April 18, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5656005)
He goes by "Paul Greenberg" until the end of March.
   27. salvomania Posted: April 18, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5656031)
but the internet tells me that it was actually in 1996 in Seattle.

I'm over 120 years old, and I'm still wrapping my head around the American League as another major league.

OK, guilty as charged. Pompous, ill informed, etc.

But I can't help myself...

No, we expect the writer to be over 40 years old so he sees the idea that Ryne Sandberg played in more than 0 March games as obviously impossible.

I was expecting THIS (professional baseball) writer---a guy who's worked at the Tribune for 25 years and who was the Cubs' beat writer while Sandberg was playing---to know that Sandberg hadn't played in March. It's not like games have always been played in March, it's a modern development---the Cubs had zero scheduled march games while Sandberg (Santo, Banks, Cavaretta, etc.) was playing. Would this same writer cite Hack Wilson's March/April splits? I would hope not. Again, not a big deal, as I noted; it was a nit to pick. A little thing I see that bugs me, but, apparently, nobody else. It's like seeing the "prime" typographical symbol (aka the "foot mark") being used as an apostrophe in commercial print advertising. Few notice it, and if it's brought to people's attention they wonder why in the world anyone would care. But it still bugs me and makes me wish the designer/art director/editor was more on the ball.
   28. salvomania Posted: April 18, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5656033)
He goes by "Paul Greenberg" until the end of March.

Greenberg/Sullivan, April/March, what's the difference
   29. Baldrick Posted: April 18, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5656097)
He goes by "Paul Greenberg" until the end of March.

Primey.
   30. DFA Posted: April 19, 2018 at 02:01 AM (#5656334)
It's a good thing we have a limited number of Reds fans... otherwise, we'd be due for a rant about Opening Day protocols...


I laughed.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
tshipman
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT - 2018 NBA Summer Potpourri (finals, draft, free agency, Colangelo dragging)
(3471 - 12:54am, Jul 20)
Last: stevegamer

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-18-2018
(25 - 12:35am, Jul 20)
Last: stevegamer

NewsblogOTP 2018 July 16: Why Does President Trump Balk At Attending Baseball Games?
(1093 - 12:14am, Jul 20)
Last: Ray (CTL)

NewsblogIndians deal for ace reliever Brad Hand
(25 - 12:05am, Jul 20)
Last: Walt Davis

Gonfalon CubsLooking Forward
(40 - 11:47pm, Jul 19)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogIs one game really worth an OMNCHATTER! for July 19, 2018
(110 - 11:41pm, Jul 19)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT Gaming: October 2015
(802 - 11:39pm, Jul 19)
Last: PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina

Newsblog10 Years Ago, Two Trades Broke The Mold For MLB Deadline Deals
(18 - 10:33pm, Jul 19)
Last: Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams)

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-19-2018
(35 - 8:43pm, Jul 19)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogRob Manfred: Mike Trout limits his popularity because he won't market himself
(94 - 8:21pm, Jul 19)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogManny Machado blockbuster makes Dodgers the NL's team to beat
(16 - 8:11pm, Jul 19)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (World Cup)
(3245 - 6:01pm, Jul 19)
Last: Sean Forman

NewsblogIs Chase Utley a Hall of Famer?
(71 - 2:17pm, Jul 19)
Last: this is normal 57i66135. move on, find a new slant

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (let's call it July 2018)
(587 - 12:09pm, Jul 19)
Last: stig-tossled,hornswoggled gef the talking mongoose

NewsblogAaron Judge — Huge Talent, Phenomenal Trade Bait
(11 - 12:05pm, Jul 19)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

Page rendered in 0.3042 seconds
46 querie(s) executed