Coming into the postseason, many pundits had the Yankees as the favorites to win the 2009 World Series. However, most had questions about the two biggest stars for the Yankees, CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez. Both had rocky playoff track records, and many wondered whether these two regular season heros could carry the Yankees in October. Those concerns have proved unfounded, as both players have turned in stellar performances to this point, with A-Rod in particular saving the Yankees when they have needed him the most.
The success of Rodriguez and Sabathia illustrates the pitfalls of drawing conclusions from a small sample size. Denigrating a pitcher like Sabathia’s entire body of work based on a handful of postseason starts is not logical, nor is dubbing Rodriguez a choker based on 174 at bats. When the sample is too small, you cannot draw any conclusions from it. Look how quickly Alex was able to pull his postseason numbers up to his career marks, courtesy of Pinstripe Alley:
Arod, regular season career (8304AB): .305/.390/.576
Arod, postseason 2009 (27AB): .407/.469/1.000
Arod postseason career (174AB): .299/.388/.563
Similarly, their performances thus far this postseason do not mean that they are great postseason players. Rather, they illustrate that sometimes, great players will do great things. Mark Teixeira’s struggles reflect the fact that sometimes, great players struggle in big spots. Thankfully, Brian Cashman did not make decisions based on these absurdly small samples, and neither should we.
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