April 3, 2017
April's Biggest Lies
As long as I’m writing about baseball, there are eight articles you can assume I’ll post each year:
We’re all excited to see baseball, real baseball, return after the five-month, post-World Series hiatus. It’s fun to watch how players and teams have changed in the offseason. Baseball on television or radio assumes its role as the soothing white noise that portends the long, warm, sunny days of summer.
And then a bunch of sportswriters and broadcasters go and ruin it, with breathless “What Have We Learned So Far?” features that’ll start, oh, around Friday or Saturday.
As I wrote last year, April is the least predictive month of the season. July, which is shortened by the All-Star break? Players’ performances in July are better correlated to their full-year results than their records in April. September, when rosters expand and some players are bearing down for the stretch drive while others are clearly playing for next year? Better correlated than April.
This isn’t to say April baseball is irrelevant. It isn’t. Each team plays a couple dozen or so games in April, and those games will count. It’s just that they’re less representative of how things will go for the full season than games in other months. Plus, there are predictable differences between April baseball and May-September baseball.
But that won’t stop the What-Have-We-Learned-So-Far crowd. So, in order to inoculate you from April hype, I’ve compiled a list of April trends that are, probably, false.