Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What Do 50 At Bats Mean?

The team is going to defend Ryan Church's demotion by pointing to his .200 batting average in spring training. Just for the hell of it, let's look at the 2005 season, and see what 50 AB samples get us.

I'm using Baseball Musing's wonderful day-by-day database, which uses Retrosheet's information to extract all the wholesome goodness therein.

I'm pulling these dates out completely randomly, so bear with me:
9/12 - 10/02
Brad Wilkerson: .222
Ryan Zimmerman: .419
Jose Guillen: .125
Ryan Church: .200
Brandon Watson: .083

4/14 - 5/2
Cristian Guzman: .310
Brian Schneider: .222
Ryan Church: .188

6/12 - 6/31
Jose Guillen: .350
Brad Wilkerson: .236
Vinny Castilla: .196
Wil Cordero: .083

The point I'm trying to make -- and I'm not sure that just throwing numbers up there makes it -- is that 50 or so ABs is pretty meaningless. Even good hitters can have bad stretches like Jose Guillen and Brian Schneider did above.

Maybe there's something scouting-wise that we're not seeing, but no one has reported it.

All we have to go on is that the team made a decision mostly based on the performance of one batter over another in 50 spring at bats. This, despite, over 2,000 professional At Bats by each player which indicate a clear superiority.

Fifty at bats, in the scheme of things, is pretty meaningless. Is the team really basing its decisions on that?


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