Memo to MLB Fans: Sample Size Is Everything


Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 MLB season has had a lot of awesome surprises thus far: John Buck thinks he is Johnny BenchChris Davis is chasing down Hack Wilson for the RBI record and Justin Masterson is going to win 30 games. Well, that seems to be the case according to everything I am reading about the game’s first two weeks. While these starts are awesome and entertaining — especially if you have them on your fantasy teams — they mean next to nothing.

For a majority of teams, they have completed ten games on the young season. While ten games gives you a taste of how your team is doing, the percentage of games played compared to the season is still less than one NFL game. It’s all about sample size, folks. By the way, I’m not just saying this for the early part of the season, I’m saying it as a general rule of thumb for anything related to baseball. One season doesn’t even tell the whole story about a player. After Nick Swisher beat the Chicago White Sox last night, I was reminded of how one player can have a bad season every now and then, only to haunt your organization at a later date.

So, to everyone who is trading Chris Davis for Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Masterson for David Price and John Buck for Buster Posey, I just have one message for you — RELAX! There is still plenty of time for players to rebound or fall back down to earth. Also, to the fans of teams that have hot players driving in 10+ runs a week, don’t blow a gasket when they have a 2-22 spell in a few weeks, because it’s going to happen.

Baseball is a beautiful, mathematical game. You cannot predict the future in any other sport like you can with baseball. Sample size is just one of the many elements that takes times for fans to completely understand and believe in. So, Met fan, hold off on that John Buck jersey, mmkay?