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And One Other Thing About Pat Burrell and Johnny Damon

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There are a few reasons why people hate the Pat Burrell signing. Best I can tell, the most common are:

- His performance in 2009 (while ignoring the years before)

- The money

- A combination thereof

I'd like to add one to the list, although I have no illusions: it will never catch on. The Burrell deal has lead people to look for any little split that indicates a player will fail. Last year, it was Burrell's numbers as a DH. Roughly 500 plate appearances spread over nine seasons. That total in those years by any other number would be dismissed as irrelevant.

Now with Damon the hot topic becomes one-year road splits and numbers at the Trop. Here's a fun fact: numbers at a non-home stadium are almost never worthwhile. Carl Crawford has a career .676 OPS at Yankee Stadium in more than 200 career plate appearances. Do you want the Rays to sit him whenever they play at Yankee Stadium or do you think the Yankees won't sniff around him because of it? Carlos Pena has a .203 batting average in over 300 plate appearances against the Jays. Never should Pena play against the Jays.

Nobody believes that though, right? Look at Damon's Hit Tracker charts and most of his home runs would clear the fence in more than 20 parks. Here's another thing, Major League hitters as a whole held a .770 OPS at home and .733 on the road. Players hit better at home. This isn't some new sensation. Be knowledgeable about park factors and how it affects performances, but still keep an open mind until the rest of the information supports an idea.

Small sample size can be pneumonia to valuable statistical analysis.  We look for correlation and patterns and trends in everything. Sometimes that siren is nothing more than statistical noise.

For single season numbers, these are the accepted marks of which R reaches .5

  • AVG -never did.† at 650 PA, it had only reached a split-half correlation of .668
  • BABIP -never did.† at 650 PA, it had only reached a split-half correlation of .631
  • OBP – 350 PA
  • SLG – 350 PA
  • ISO – 350 PA
  • OPS – 350 PA

These from a PIzza Cutter article that has since vanished from the tubes. Thanks MVN.