It’s easy to put a spin on numbers.
Consider this example: “When his team scores at least 4 runs in his starts, Barry Zito is 126-7.” That impressive sounding factoid was used by agent Scott Boras got Barry Zito a fat contract for the San Fransisco Giants.(1)
Factoids can be twisted and manipulated; served up to serve almost any situation. Careful wording of a factoid can illicit optimism and a strong positive emotion toward a player or a certain fantasy baseball strategy. But when the factoid is worded slightly differently they can take on a very negative emotion. Just a careful wording change or simply looking at numbers from a different vantage point and numbers can be given whatever connotation you want them to have.
Here are some factoids from Opening Day that we’ll spin both directions.
Is Billy Hamilton Doomed?
In his 2014 debut, Billy Hamilton went 0-4 and looked overmatched as the leadoff hitter for the Cincinnati Reds.
Will Tanner Scheppers Lose His Rotation Spot?
Tanner Scheppers lasted only 4 innings, surrounding 7 runs.
The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies put on an offensive display. The teams combined for 24 as 6 pitchers gave up runs, including 8 by veteran Cliff Lee.
Stephen Strasburg Struggles with his control!
Stephen Strasburg walked 2 in only 6 innings of work, raising questions about his early season control.
Strasburg strikes out 10 and walks 2 in only 6 innings of work, compiling an excellent 5 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio.
The moral of this story is to be careful with these first few games of the season. The numbers can be spun a lot of different directions. Be careful to give everything a thoughtful approach.