July 25, 2021

Randomness in a shortened season (Viva El Birdos)


I won’t beat around the bush: there is a nonzero chance the 2020 MLB season gets cancelled altogether. As the calendar prepares to flip to June, negotiations between the league and its players association are expected to–one way or another–reach a climax in the very near future.

It’s stating the obvious to note that, assuming there is baseball to be played, this season is going to be different. We’ve recently discussed at VEB how potential rule modifications such as a universal DH or expanded roster might affect the Cardinals, but one change that will undoubtedly affect every team is that a shortened season would be…well, shortened.

I think we can all agree the Dodgers, for example, are a better baseball team than the Marlins. If the two played each other once, we’d expect Los Angeles to “prove” they were better by winning more times than not. But baseball is weird and Miami would occasionally pull off the upset. If they were to play each other, say, 10 times instead of just once, we’d be much more confident in the Dodgers to come out ahead.

This underscores the statistical principle that variability decreases as sample size increases and vice versa. So…

Read “Randomness in a shortened season” at Viva El Birdos