February 2, 2017
New Year's Resolutions: Team Hitting
It’s February, and New Year’s resolutions seem like eons ago. Dry January is in the rearview mirror. You probably don’t have to wait for the aerobic equipment at the gym anymore (if you’re still going). Desserts are back on the menu, and your brother-in-law, well, you tried to get along with him, really you did, but he’s still annoying. So it’s time to draw this series on New Year’s resolutions to a close as well.
But before I do, I want to show you my favorite finding of this whole series. I think it’s pretty interesting. But first, let’s get the less interesting stuff out of the way.
In this series, I’ve been looking at players whose approach at the plate or on the mound changed significantly in 2016—pulling the ball more or less, hitting balls on the ground or in the air more, and improving or declining plate discipline. The conclusion, in general, is that change is hard—most players exhibited very limited change from 2015 to 2016—but that at the extremes, change appears to drive better/worse performance in some cases (notably, for batters, plate discipline) but not in others (notably pulling more or less).