Goldman: You could look it up: Beware of cheap insights and expensive cameras

From SABR member Steven Goldman at Baseball Prospectus on November 6, 2019:

If you add up all the games from the just-completed postseason, they total 37. That’s a lot of games, nearly a quarter of a regular season, but still not enough to support any real conclusions. If proof of concept requires only 37 games, then for 37 games this year Jose Altuve proved he was a .236 hitter;  Cody Bellinger showed he was Ted Williams’ heir by averaging .394; the New York Mets certified they deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as the best teams in history because they were on pace to win 105 games; for 37 games (and more) George Springer, Trea Turner, and Nelson Cruz established they didn’t exist.

Despite the goldfish bowl nature of the postseason, it’s all-too-tempting to draw massive takeaways from clashes between baseball’s most accomplished teams, even if the answers would have extremely limited applications; any lesson that begins, “Step One: Acquire Gerrit Cole,” is not only stating the obvious, it’s insisting all teams perform a trick that can only be done once. Since planning in baseball is always about trying to project past performance into the future, even seemingly obvious advice like that risks being wrong from the outset. If, following the conclusion of the 1991 World Series, anyone thought the takeaway was, “First, get Jack Morris,” they would have been advocating for a pitcher in decline who would soon prove to be more committed to bringing in the harvest at home than helping Cleveland to its first World Series win since 1948.

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Originally published: November 6, 2019. Last Updated: November 6, 2019.