May 10, 2021

April Hitting Stats Mean Nothing… Except When They Kinda Do (FanGraphs)

As part of my exhausting shtick, I like to respond “April!” to questions in my chats involving player performances in the season’s early going. This is effective shorthand when someone wants to know if, say, George Springer is a bust because he’s put up a .480 OPS in his first two weeks in the majors. It’s also dead wrong. April stats, in their proper context, are meaningful.

“But Dan, a few weeks of baseball is a tiny sample!” That’s correct, but you have to take into consideration the underlying reasons projections can prove to be inaccurate. It’s not just that things change, though they do — pitcher X learns a sweet knuckle-curve or bitter Y realizes that not hitting everything into the ground might be good — it’s that it’s challenging to gauge where players stand in the first place. Players’ stats themselves aren’t even perfect at this. Tim Anderson hit .322 in 2020, but that doesn’t actually mean his mean batting average projection should have been for .322. We don’t actually know if a theoretical player was “truly” a .322 hitter, a .312 hitter who got lucky, a very unlucky .342 hitter, or a .252 hitter who made a deal with a…

Read “April Hitting Stats Mean Nothing… Except When They Kinda Do” at FanGraphs