October 22, 2012
Are Three-True-Outcomes Players Better in the Playoffs?
Let me pull back the curtain on how BP articles are made, at least at my house. This article came about when I was washing the dishes. It's my thing. I like to listen to podcasts and scrub down pots and pans. It's wondrously therapeutic after a long day at work, and BP alumni Joe Sheehan and Rany Jazayerli were keeping me company as I struggled mightily with the remnants of mac and cheese from my daughter's lunch plate.
Anyway, Messrs. Sheehan and Jazayerli (erm, Dr. Jazayerli) were chatting about the then-happening American League Championship Series (they seem to have recorded between games Two and Three) and pondering the struggles of Yankee hitters, even the ones not named Rodriguez. They brought up the struggles of Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson, and Mr. Sheehan mused aloud about whether Three True Outcomes hitters (that is, guys who are particularly gifted in the arts of striking out, walking, and hitting home runs) as a class of players had trouble in the playoffs. They didn't linger too long on the subject, but at the end, Mr. Sheehan suggested that it might make a good study for someone to do. (To hear the original, listen to Episode 56, around the 1:15:00 mark).
And that someone just happened to be cleaning cooked rice out of a pot when he heard that irresistible dog whistle. My life is as glamorous as it gets.
As always, if you're afraid of numbers, please skip to "What It All Means".
Warning! Gory Mathematical Details Ahead!