- Peter Keating
NOW THAT BASEBALL'S regular season has drawn to a close, so too should our summer romances. In real life and in keeper fantasy leagues, teams must soberly evaluate their pleasant surprises. Can you really build around Carlos Gomez or Everth Cabrera? At the same time, GMs must figure out how much collapsed stars like Josh Hamilton and Roy Halladay can still offer. It's the season to ask: Can we trust what we've just seen? Because sometimes 162 games isn't enough for a player's performance to match his underlying talent.
Indeed, sometimes 324 games isn't enough. For the past two years, the Orioles, particularly their closer, Jim Johnson, have been a case study in how luck affects the expression of skill -- and in how we need to choose our advanced metrics carefully to see where a player (or a team) is headed.
In ESPN The Magazine's Bay Area Issue, Peter Keating writes that as the plight of Orioles closer Jim Johnson proves, sometimes teams are only as good as the luck of their players.