Opening Day: Why Statistics Don’t (Always) Matter

Photo Credit: Louis Milman

Photo Credit: Louis Milman

Other than the actual baseball, my favorite part about Opening Day is the statistics that come out of it. I remember in 2005, Dmitri Young hit three home runs on Opening Day, prompting a cavalcade of “He’s on pace for 486 home run” statements. So, every year, after Opening Day, I like remind myself that individual games are not predictive of anything — and that statistics, while actually very important, can and are selected to prove what the person speaking wants them to prove.

So, the statistics from Opening Day that translate to the full season:

– Andrew Brown, Juan Lagares and even David Wright will not hit 162 home runs.

– Curtis Granderson won’t strike out 486 times.

– The Mets won’t score 1,134 runs.

– Neither Scott Rice nor Carlos Torres will walk every batter they face all season.

– The Mets will not go 0-162 and will not lose a key player to a season-ending injury every day of the season.


While those statistics, both good and bad, will not go continue on their “pace,” there are things that we CAN take out of Opening Day’s game:

– Juan Lagares showed a little bit with his bat early, and didn’t get too anxious to swing in the 10th inning. If he can swing a decent bat and maintain plate discipline, he will end up playing way more than Eric Young Jr. (0-4, 4 K’s on Opening Day)

– The Mets need to strike out less. They are unlikely to show the kind of power they did on Opening Day, slamming three home runs. So, if they can’t string together base hits, the lineup will look similar to a stretch late last summer where they averaged about two runs per game.

– Dillon Gee looked, until his final inning, like the Dillon Gee from the second half of last year. He’s no lock to be that kind of pitcher all year long, but he may be the kind of pitcher capable of keeping the Mets in most games he pitches.

– The bullpen is STILL a huge question mark. Jose Valverde’s success can’t be counted upon based on one outing any more than the rest of the bullpen’s failure can. But all of the concerns that I outlined here, still exist.


Is Opening Day an accurate way to analyze or define any team? Absolutely not. Could most of the predictions made in this post turn out wrong? Sure. There’s a reason the baseball season is 162 games long — so that we don’t have to judge a team on a small sample size. So, sit back, get ready for game 2 of 162 tonight, and remember, when someone TRIES to give their way-too-early analysis, refer to this song by Ted Berg, now of USA Today.



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