The Museum of Small-Sample Split Oddities

Step right up and get your small-sample anomalies! That’s the subject of today’s BP/ESPN piece, which starts with a Yankee:

We’re just past a third of the way through the season, and it’s no secret that the new Yankee Stadium has played as a hitter’s park thus far. After 29 games played in the Bronx, teams are averaging an AL-high 5.7 runs and an MLB-high 1.8 homers per game, with batters hitting a robust .271/.354/.476. Alas, Nick Swisher’s invitation to the party must have been lost in the mail. Through Monday, he was hitting just .190/.390/.354 at home, and that after a long ball in each of his last two games there, just his second and third round-trippers at home. Meanwhile, he’s thrashing at a .313/.400/.708 clip on the road, where he’s hit nine home runs and 19 of his 26 extra-base hits.

The 363-point OPS difference between Swisher’s location splits constitutes the largest home-field disadvantage among hitters with at least 100 PA in both contexts, but it’s hardly the only sizable split, even among those spending half of their time in hitter-friendly parks. Three Phillies — Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, and Ryan Howard — rank in the top 20 in that category. Werth’s OPS is 308 points lower at home, “good” for fifth, while Victorino’s 239-point deficit is eighth, and Howard’s 149-point deficit is 18th. With the minimal sample sizes in play, such anomalies shouldn’t be terribly surprising, nor should Werth’s 2008 reverse split be (887 OPS on the road, 832 at home), since it takes years of regular at-bats before the sample sizes become large enough to yield reliably representative results.

Still, like bearded ladies and monkey boys, such early-season freak shows are fun to gawk at before the regression police shutter them for operating without a license.

From there, I go on to detail the biggest home/road extreme park reverse splits, the largest lefty-righty reverse platoon splits, the fattest Siamese pitching coaches of all time, and the two-headed cowwhom the Yankees just signed to help out in the bullpen. All in a day’s work.

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