By Eriq Gardner //
There’s tremendous profit to be made in betting on players who have just come off of miserable years and staying away from those who have just enjoyed fantastic seasons.
Let’s show by example.
Heading into last season, some players had momentum from the 2009 season while others were being dismissed as showing warts. Let’s call the first class of players “Group A” and the second class of players “Group B.”
To assemble a team of Group A All-Stars, we looked at which relatively healthy players at each position had the largest percentage of their 2007-2009 HR total in the ’09 year of this three-year sample. This team consisted of Joe Mauer, Billy Butler, Aaron Hill, Jason Bartlett, Evan Longoria, Michael Cuddyer, Andre Ethier, Marlon Byrd, and Mark Reynolds.
And to assemble a team of Group B All-Stars, we looked at which relatively healthy players had the smallest percentage of their 2007-2009 HR total in the ”09 year of the three year sample. This team consisted of Russell Martin, Aubrey Huff, Brandon Phillips, Jhonny Peralta, David Wright, Shane Victorino, Alfonso Soriano, BJ Upton, and Alex Rodriguez.
Heading into the 2010 season, almost everyone would have bet on Group A to dominate Group B in HRs that year. Together, Group A slugged 261 HRs in 2009 whereas Group B only slugged 134.
Guess what? By the end of 2010, Group B had more home runs than Group A. Take a look…
Certainly not every player experienced what’s known in the trade as “regression to the mean.” But as a whole, Group A’s power numbers dropped 40 percent while Group B’s power numbers rose by 37 percent.
Most people know that players coming off of great seasons tend to be overvalued into the next season, but does everyone really give this phenomenon its proper due? Young players who do great are said to be on the rise. Older players who do poorly are said to be on the decline. But often, the production shifts we see from one year to the next are largely statistical noise. It might be more important to take a larger three year sample when considering who to roster in fantasy leagues.
With that said, let’s take a look at potential Group A All-Stars heading into the 2011 season. These are players whose 2008-2010 HR total is most heavily weighted to last season. Something to be aware about before investing to heavily in players like Robinson Cano, Joey Votto, Vernon Wells, and Corey Hart.
And here’s a look at potential Group B All-Stars heading into the 2011 season. These are players whose 2008-2010 HR total is least heavily weighted to last season. Some players whose HR production could regress towards the positive side include Yunel Escobar, Johnny Damon, Jose Lopez, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley, Nick Markakis, Ryan Howard, Derek Jeter, and Derrek Lee. All of these players are going for less in drafts heading into this season than a year ago.