Baseball is a funny game. Because of all the quirks and odd statistics available, it is often easy to prove or disprove just about any theory going. One theory that has been around seemingly forever is the idea of the “Sophomore Slump”. There are lots of articles written and lots of statistics to back up the idea that a player who displays good stats as a rookie will inevitably experience a disappointing second season as a follow up.
Let’s take a look at a few players who put up some decent numbers in their inaugural 2010 season and how they are faring so far in 2011.
Jason Heyward (ATL) –
Something of a sensation in 2010, Heyward has struggled to hit for average in 2011. The power stroke is still there but he is hitting 57 points behind last year’s clip and has battled a nagging shoulder injury.
Carlos Santana (CLE) –
He has struggled at the plate for the better part of 2011 hitting 85 points lower on his Slugging % and 42 points below his 2010 Batting Average. Still, at a very shallow catcher position, he still holds the faith of his fantasy owners.
Mat Latos (SD) –
In his first full season in 2010, Latos looked to be emerging as a staff ace. So far in 2011, his ERA is 1.46 higher and he has seen his WHIP increase by 25 points. Furthermore, it took him 7 starts to gain his first win (to go with 5 losses).
Daniel Hudson (ARI) –
After a trade from the White Sox last season, Hudson really settled into a groove in Arizona’s starting rotation. So far in 2011, he has added 2 runs to his ERA and hasn’t looked nearly as comfortable his second time through the Senior Circuit.
Jose Tabata (PIT) –
His game is founded on getting on base and using his speed. With a 73 point Batting Average drop and Alex Presley nipping at his heels from AAA, things are not looking up in his second season.
Pedro Alvarez (PIT) –
After a promising 2010 which saw Alvarez hit 16 HR in only 347 AB, he has struggled mightily in his sophomore turn. Hitting only .210 with little sign of power, there have been rumours of a demotion to the minors.
Instead of proclaiming the existence of a “Sophomore Slump”, perhaps the best explanation lays in the idea of “Regression to the Mean”. Baseball is a funny game which takes place over a long season with a lot of statistics involved. Things always seem to work out in the long run and that certainly applies to player statistics. The average player produces average stats and any deviation from the average is usually corrected over the long haul. So, it could be said that rather than a “curse” or “slump” jinxing ballplayers, instead it may just be the Baseball Gods realigning their universe. After all, baseball is a funny game.
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