The Z Files: The Myth of the Second-Half Player
The Z Files: The Myth of the Second-Half Player

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

We all get them. Maybe you even send them. I'm talking about the extolling of the exploits of a perceived second-half player in a trade pitch. Or, maybe you're looking to acquire a player like Joey Votto due to a recent season with a strong second half. Today, I'm going to look at the notion of a second-half player from a unique angle.

How many years does a player need to exhibit better second-half numbers to be considered a second-half player? Three? Four? Maybe five?

Let's look at this in terms of probability. If eight people flip a coin three times, the laws of probability dictate one flips three heads while another flips three tails. If sixteen flip it four times, one ends up with four heads while another gets four tails. Upping this to 32 folks flipping five times, again one lands on five heads while someone else gabs five tails.

Do you consider any of the individuals flipping all heads or all tails to be lucky? In a vacuum, if they were the only person participating, sure, they were lucky. However, in context with the population performing the exercise, they weren't lucky. Their result was predicted by simple probability.

Let's say flipping heads represents a better first half, tails a superior second half. At any given time, there are 750 active players. One in sixteen of them, or 94, can be expected to have had three consecutive better second halves (ignoring the fact some of this occurred in

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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