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August 20, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Being Wrong About Yovani Gallardo

by J.P. Breen


Admittedly, this article stems from a recent article by our own Craig Goldstein and an ongoing series by Jason Parks. It revolves around the idea of making preseason projections and ultimately being wrong. Goldstein took the high road in his article last week and explained that baseball analysts can occasionally hide behind process as a way of lessening the impact of making an incorrect prediction. He writes:

I often think my reasons at the time were justified, and that just because it didn’t break my way, doesn’t mean I was wrong, just that it turned out differently. This is hiding behind “the process.” I was wrong, and good reasoning at the time or not, that needs to be owned.

That’s noble and carries plenty of weight. However, it does tend to minimize the overall human randomness of baseball. That is to say, humans unexpectedly improve, which can stem from doing something differently or from doing the same thing better. Simple random variance comes into play, as well, but I’m more interested in the idea of being incorrect due to unforeseen player development.

When projecting player performance at the big-league level, there’s an inherent risk of being incorrect. In fact, we’re often wrong more than we’re right. That harkens back to that “human randomness” that I mentioned above. Instead, all one can do is take the information at hand and make the best-possible argument. Now, all of us can miss or devalue certain pieces of information, and in those cases, I think it’s important to “own up” and figure out what we missed. On the other hand, when the player unexpectedly does something better that counters previous trends, that’s something that should be celebrated and explored.

With that said, I was wrong about Yovani Gallardo. I thought he was done and would be nothing more than a back-end starter this season. I think this is interesting for two reasons: (1) He took a significant and unexpected step forward that countered the overall trends over the past couple seasons; and (2) the unexpected development on the mound has completed the transformation that now seems obvious and something that I should have seen.

Thus, I think this is a combination of what Craig and I have discussed in our two articles. Part of this is me owning up to missing the forest while focusing on the trees, as well as highlighting an unexpected improvement that no reasonable person should have expected based upon recent numbers.

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Related Content:  Fantasy,  Yovani Gallardo

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (08/20)
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