Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sleep Patterns And Batting Average

Before I outright dismiss this as a complete waste of time (don't worry, that part is coming), let's poke around this little study while I'm between naps. It appears that baseball players are made of actual humans (just like us!) and their natural sleep cycle may have a correlation to performance. Dr. W. Christopher Winter of Sealy Mattress University Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center had 16 players fill out a Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire and compared stats...
Not surprisingly, the morning players did better (as measured by combined batting average) than their night owl counterparts in day games, outbatting them by a margin of .267 to .259, Winter found. The opposite was true for night games – the night owls outbatted the morning types, .306 to .252. For the midday games, the night owls had the edge, with a combined batting average of .261 versus .252 for the morning players.
I'm all for new studies but couldn't this guy have used a better metric than batting average or a bigger sample size? And, I'm just throwing this out there, couldn't the age of the player and the stage of their career come into play here? I guess not since Winter takes his findings a little too seriously...
“Currently, selecting a player for a game situation usually involves factors such as handedness, rest and possibly previous success against a certain team,” he said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Now the time of day in which the game is occurring and a player’s chronotype might be a wise factor to take into account.”
Easy there, turbo. Let's get managers to stop sac bunting in the first inning before we have them analyzing sleep cycles. Obviously, this means nothing to baseball. I doubt Joe Giradi is going to hold Robinson Cano out of a day game because he had to party in New York City with a bunch of insanely hot Latin women the previous night. But I hope Winter wins a nice duvet cover or whatever the top honor is in his field.

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