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Fatigued players make bad decisions? Not so fast …

Jun 21, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Sleepy baseball players

Last week I linked to a study by Vanderbilt University researchers which concluded that player fatigue leads to poor decision making on their part as the season wears on. Swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone and whatnot. The research goes further to suggest that baseball’s crackdown on stimulants exacerbated this.

Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus, however, is not so impressed:

… while a sleepy player might suffer from impaired performance, it’s a stretch to say that the league as a whole has worse plate discipline due to fatigue later in the season, and an even greater stretch to suggest that the amphetamine ban has produced a marked uptick in player fatigue. Those things might be true, but this study hasn’t shown them to be true.

Ben digs in to the plate discipline numbers and the data before and after the stimulant crackdown and comes away unconvinced by the study’s conclusions.

Certainly worth your time if this stuff interests you.

  1. specialkindofstupid - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I think the only way we’re truly going to get the bottom of this is if we force Jeff Franceour and Placido Polanco to stay awake for 48 hours. If Polanco starts swinging at pitches three feet outside, and Franceour starts showing great plate discipline, we’ll know…something.

    • zzalapski - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      We’ll know that Frenchy’s desire to sleep is greater than his desire to get on base?

  2. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    None of this will matter once our robot overlords rise up and take control. Robot umpires? I want robot players!

  3. paperlions - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    If by “comes away unconvinced by the study’s conclusions” you mean, demonstrated that the study was flawed, made erroneous assumptions, and drew unjustifiable conclusions. I agree.

    It is a rather convincing take-down of the original study, and demonstrates the dangers of wading into an unfamiliar area of research on your when when it is already chock-full of smart and experienced researchers that are more familiar with the data and the study system than you are.

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