So after the Jays loss last night, I tuned into the CoCo Cordero Show on Rogers Media Powered by Fans Sportsnet 590 the Fan. After a couple of - how to say it politely - less than brilliant calls, the last caller (starting at the 19:45 mark) called Mike Wilner out for a particular way he defended Cordero last week, in which he had argued that since the start of May, Cordero had a 1.74 ERA (at that point, entering last night's game it was apparently 3.00), and that a couple outings badly skew his results. The caller rightly pointed out that everything counts, to which Wilner said:
If you're looking at it - reasonably, rationally, and critically - you can look and see that yes, this is what the overall stats are, and yes, they're very badly skewed by a couple of poor outings, the majority of the outings have been fine. If you want to say that's the overall stats and that's the only thing that matters, it's a 9.60 ERA. If you take out 3 of the 14 or whatever and the ERA goes down to 2.20, oooh.
What this essentially boils down to is cherry picking numbers to fit an argument - take out the worst outings, and he looks good!. And it's done a lot, though not usually so overtly (usually in the form of using arbitrary endpoints, which at least still captured everything in between which inevitably includes good and bad).
This is a particularly bad way to analyse baseball results, since baseball is not a symmetric game. Even the worst pitchers gets outs more often than they don't, have scoreless innings more often than they don't, and the best hitters make outs more often than they get on (though Ted Williams comes pretty close, with a career .482 OBP). The reality is, if you cut a tail off of any distribution, the average is going to move significantly, but this is especially the case for baseball outcomes.
So, in the spirit of thinking ""reasonably, rationally, and critically", my goal is to present the true talent of some Blue Jays fan favourites. I will limit myself to excluding 10% of a sample (that would accord to 4 of Cordero's 39 appearances, so it seems to be in the same spirit). Behold:
Feel free to add any more below. The takeaway from this is that when somebody says "so-and-so was really good/bad if you take out such-and-such", ignore them. The good comes with the bad, and life is not symmetrical.