Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Sample Size and the Fallacy of Experts

Yesterday, in the world of Tony Maz of the CSN afternoon talking heads show, we learned that Jackie Bradley's career is doomed.

One unsuccessful at bat has shaken Bradley's foundation to the core and that he needs psychotherapy if not ECT.

I think it was in 1954, a young Jim Greengrass sparked the Reds to a 10-9 win over Milwaukee with four doubles. The Braves rookie right-fielder took the collar, going 0 for 5. His career would obviously go South in the parallel universe of the BBWAA. Except from there, that failure went on to a Hall of Fame career as Hank Aaron.

It's easy to go wrong on decision-making, with flawed framing, confirmation bias (believe what you choose to read), emotion, and overconfidence. The only problem is our own fallibility.

Don't read too much into the sample size of one day or one at bat. If you're the '84 Tigers and go 35-5 out of the box, then you know something special is happening.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 0 for 4 yesterday. What a bum! Oh, myy! Don't judge the marathon that is baseball by the first step. Every journalist worth his salt should know that.