Mains: April is the least predictive month for hitters

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on April 11, 2019:

It’s April, so I’m contractually obligated to write something about how meaningless this month is in discerning the course of the season. A few years ago, I was in some sports-themed restaurant, somewhere, and a TV tuned to ESPN featured talking heads discussing “What We’ve Learned So Far”—after the first week of the baseball season.

Here’s what you learn after one week of baseball: That seven days of baseball are better than seven days of no baseball. That’s it. I swear, I think that TV segment scarred me.

In April 2016, in just my fifth article here, I wrote that for teams, performance in April is less correlated to full-year results than any other month. In April 2017, I noted that trends occurring almost every April (e.g., more walks, less offense, more errors) are generally confined to the month and don’t spill over into the rest of the year. Last April, I found that over a quarter of teams that play .600 or better ball in April have a losing record over the rest of the year, and over a quarter of teams that play .400 or worse ball in April go on to have a winning record in the season’s other months.

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Originally published: April 12, 2019. Last Updated: April 12, 2019.