This article is part of our The Z Files series.
It's early, but …
Those words don't belong together. To be fair, I'm paraphrasing Tom Tango who once said the same about small sample sizes.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the truncated season and the need to make roster decisions, many are basing analysis on, "It's early, but …"
One of the means many recommend to make decisions based more on data, less on a whim is the notion of stability points. The premise is that new skill levels are displayed at varying rates for different metrics. The common threshold is 50 percent. That is, the stabilization point is the time for when the metric is driven half by skill, half by perceived luck.
Since the outcomes are half skill, regression is necessary when determining the new skill level. For instance, the stabilization point for a batter's strikeout rate is usually reported to be 60 plate appearances. Ergo, a hitter's new strikeout rate is the average of what was initially projected and the mark after 60 trips to the dish, a mere 12-15 games – essentially two weeks into the season.
When this concept was first introduced over 10 years ago by Russell Carleton, then known as Pizza Cutter, I jumped all over it, using the stabilization points of all pertinent metrics to drive my rest-of-season projections. Man, I felt like I was on the cutting edge of next-level analysis.
The same process is being utilized today. The problem is this isn't a humblebrag decreeing I've been doing this