Follow up to Streak Study

May 30, 2019
 

Follow Up Note to Streak Study

 

            In yesterday’s study

https://www.billjamesonline.com/streak_study_by_good_games_and_bad_games/

            I failed to address the question of whether some players had identifiable streak tendencies from season to season.   I should have included that issue in the report; my apologies.

            Anyway, Paul Blair had 12 seasons within the confines of the study (1965 to 1976), and had "positive streak tendencies" in all 12 seasons, with a career "streak balance" of +483.   These are the career totals for all 46 players who were in the study:

First

Last

Positive

Negative

Balance

Paul

Blair

12

0

423

Al

Kaline

14

6

375

Maury

Wills

6

6

345

Jim

Gilliam

9

4

334

Bill

Mazeroski

9

4

332

Rocky

Colavito

8

4

331

Cecil

Cooper

7

6

228

Bill

White

7

3

228

Johnny

Callison

8

3

227

Orlando

Cepeda

9

4

222

Amos

Otis

8

4

211

Frank

Howard

7

5

173

Cookie

Rojas

9

3

158

Roger

Maris

8

2

138

Andre

Thornton

6

4

101

Zoilo

Versalles

5

4

95

Gil

McDougald

5

5

80

Ed

Kirkpatrick

4

3

78

Dick

McAuliffe

6

6

70

Jim

Northrup

5

4

62

Ed

Charles

4

3

60

Bill

Freehan

6

7

57

George

Scott

9

5

51

Bob

Skinner

5

3

51

Rico

Petrocelli

5

6

49

Gene

Tenace

4

4

45

Earl

Averill

5

6

41

Ken

McMullen

4

4

27

Bob

Allison

3

6

12

Cesar

Tovar

5

4

11

Dick

Stuart

3

4

6

Lou

Brock

5

12

4

Mark

Belanger

7

4

2

Dale

Mitchell

4

3

0

Jim Ray

Hart

3

3

-10

Al

Spangler

1

2

-26

Eddie

Mathews

8

8

-30

Dick

Groat

8

4

-47

Tom

Haller

4

3

-57

Don

Mincher

3

4

-68

Dolph

Camilli

2

6

-69

Norm

Cash

6

8

-104

Thurman

Munson

3

5

-107

Dick

Allen

3

8

-154

Matty

Alou

3

6

-160

Tony

Oliva

3

8

-161

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

268

216

3634

 

 

            There were 268 seasons within the study in which the player had a positive streak balance, and 216 seasons in which the player had a negative streak balance.   There were also three seasons (not summarized in the data above) in which a player had a streak balance of zero; those were seasons by Bill White, Thurman Munson and Dolph Camilli.

            Splitting the zeroes, 55.3% of seasons showed a positive streak balance.   Assuming that is a "true" measure, the random probability that a player would have 12 consecutive "positive streak seasons" is .000 825, or about 1 on 1,200.    However, there are 46 players in this study.  They don’t all have 12 seasons studied, but assuming they did, the chance that ONE of them would have a 12-0 split would be about 4%. 

 
 

COMMENTS (11 Comments, most recent shown first)

villageelliott
Brandon Belt, the most streaky hitter I can recall, drives Giants fans bonkers.
7:41 PM Jun 5th
 
klamb819
I suppose we should not infer from this that reliable Dick Allen was rock-steady while no one could ever count on that erratic flake Kaline. :—)
Seriously, the placement of those two reminded me of the difference between short-term streak ones and long-term consistency.
6:59 AM Jun 3rd
 
sayhey
Impressions: the streakiest player I ever observed on a daily basis was Joe Carter during his years with the Jays. Seemingly impossible to get out some of the time, feckless a lot of the rest of the time. (A combination that, intuitively, would seem to jibe with Carter's oversized reputation at the time--he'd ride those hot streaks to his annual 30 HR/100 RBI on top of otherwise mediocre batting lines.)

I'd be curious to see if there's any validity to how I remember him.
6:53 AM Jun 1st
 
Marc Schneider
It seems to me you would have to adjust for the quality of pitching. Let's say a hitter were to face Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal in the same week (not likely I realize). The hitter would likely have poor results regardless of whether or not his mechanics were off or whatever. Streaks, good or bad, must be partly a function of who is pitching and the randomness comes in from what teams you are playing against at a given time.
1:00 PM May 31st
 
lidsky
Bill - You're right. I misread something that on the second read was actually quite clear. Thanks.
4:26 PM May 30th
 
hotstatrat
Oh, and regarding the Mark DeRosa assertion that compact players like Trout are more slump proof than lankier players . . . and your response to wovenstrap about it - that it is "entirely impossible to prove that one player is more slump-prone or less slump-prone than another."

Jeez, on the 1965-1976 list, ignoring the players in the middle - the lower positives, the more relatively skinny or tall guys are in the top four brackets (Howard, Cooper, Colavito, Versalles, Northrup) while more compact players are in the red (Munson, Hart, Camilli, Allen, Alou).

I understand reopening this takes time that could be used for more interesting studies, but I can't convince myself that DeRosa's assertion doesn't possibly have some merit.
4:10 PM May 30th
 
Gfletch
I found the comments from lidsky and hotstatrat both made a lot of sense to me in the context of the general issue of streakiness, and yes, I believe I understand your answer to Lidsky (you were measuring streakiness within the environment of each players ability?).

So...I'm thinking that a player can be playing great (as a hitter) but not getting any results (and vice versa)...so no wonder measuring hotness or coldness is so difficult. We first make qualitative observations and then try to quantify it statistically...like determining beauty by measuring the features of someones face.​
3:46 PM May 30th
 
hotstatrat
This slump business is a brain twister for me. No matter how many credible studies show that slumps and hot streaks are just natural randomly occurring events as predictable as dice rolling, it is hard to wrap my head around it. Players do play injured. Players do make adjustments. Players do fail to make adjustments or make the necessary adjustments. Wouldn't those things show up somehow? Are they not real?

Then there are the inexplicable streaks. Are you telling me that this April's Steve Pearce was just the same as last October's Steve Pearce - that his ability to create runs were the same minus a half year of aging?

Doesn't the fact that your study shows significantly more players with Positive streak numbers than not - indicate that there actually is some streakiness in Major League performance?
3:26 PM May 30th
 
bjames
Since the definition of a good game is fixed for every player, wouldn't that mean particularly good hitters would have more positive streaks as they have more good games than bad games?

You need to re-read the article; you have badly misunderstood something.
3:21 PM May 30th
 
lidsky
Since the definition of a good game is fixed for every player, wouldn't that mean particularly good hitters would have more positive streaks as they have more good games than bad games?

Likewise, particularly bad hitters would accumulate more negative streaks?

Thus average hitters would appear to be less streaky, hitters on the extremes either good or bad would appear to be more streaky.




1:32 PM May 30th
 
ventboys
I feel like there's a Wright Brothers element to this study, if that makes sense. You got the plane off the ground and there is no doubt you were flying, but it's not a finished product so much as it's an early version of what later might become a B-52.

It's too bad you don't have a room full of assistants who can take your inventions and refine them in an organized way, do the things you won't have time to do yourself because you are busy with the next invention.
1:14 PM May 30th
 
 
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