Usefulness of early-season stats 

May, 21, 2014
May 21
Carlos SantanaJason Miller/Getty ImagesCarlos Santana has had a rough start to the season, batting .151 with a .277 slugging percentage.

Tom Lasko is filling in for Eric Karabell, who is on vacation this week.

Baseball is a game of numbers, but a lot of the stats that you see can be misleading, especially early in the year. In a small enough sample size, almost any player can look like an All-Star, or conversely, a candidate for demotion to the minor leagues. For example, through the end of April, Chris Colabello was hitting .295 with three homers, 27 RBIs and a .484 slugging percentage. Since then, he is hitting .127 with a homer, three RBIs and a .200 SLG. Choosing monthly splits like this can certainly make for interesting narratives, but unfortunately the sample sizes are too small to be statistically significant. In fact, a stat such as batting average takes about 910 at-bats to stabilize. Therefore, a player’s batting average in a particular month is not a reliable indicator of his true skill level. Consequently, these particular splits also should not be used to draw conclusions about future performance.