Wednesday, March 16, 2011

'Best Shape of My Life' Not Just a Cliche

At the always interesting Baseball Prospectus they have a guest post that investigates the "Best Shape" phenomenon that ripples through Florida and Arizona this time of year. Rob Pettapiece bravely wades through all the fluff pieces about players and finds some interesting nuggets.
It appears that BSOMLers (Best Shape of My Life) may, in fact, outperform their projections more than non-BSOMLers outperform theirs. More accurately, the best-shapers held steady (as indicated by the +6 runs we noted earlier or a huge 0.7% above projected numbers) and the non-best-shapers failed to meet expectations (-27). Of course, the non-BSOMLers who had poor seasons and received less playing time as a result don't affectnumbers, so the true drop-off by the control group should actually be larger. the actual numbers as much as they would have had they kept putting up poor numbers, so the true drop-off by the control group should actually be larger.
To simplify the results here players in the best shape of their lives tend to meet their projections (PETCOA in this case) then players who don't utter the phrase.

Rob speculates that this could be because that players who work out address their problem areas and the ones that don't may loose a step in the ultra competitive atmosphere. The results meld with common sense and this gives hope for those lofty projections that the computers spit out for Pablo Sandoval.

(h/t to Julian Levine at Beyond the Boxscore)

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