Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kevin Kouzmanoff and Mark Twain

Kevin Kouzmanoff has had a good couple of weeks. Actually, his .327/.351/.636 in the last 14 games is better than "good". How did this happen? He didn't suddenly get bigger or stronger. Pitchers haven't suddenly pitched him differently. So what is it?

Back in 2007, Kouz's rookie year, he had a rough start. On May 14 he had an OPS of .424 with just one homer in 105 plate appearances. For the rest of the year he hit .308/.363/.510 for an OPS of .873 while hitting 17 homers (one every 25 pa's). Great things were on the horizon.

Then Kouz again stumbled a bit out of the gates in 2008 with an OPS of .682 on May 14 and one homer for every 59 plate appearanes. After May 14 he had an OPS of .751 with 20 homers (one every 25 pa's). That was more like it.

This year? Kouz had an OPS of .550 on May 14 with one homer in 133 plate appearances. Since that time he has an OPS of .811 with nine homers (one very 16 pa's).

So, to summarize his last three seasons:
  • Up to May 14: .221/.260/.316 with one homer every 83 pa's
  • Post May 14: .278/.325/.483 with one homer every 23 pa's
Is there something about May 14 that we should know? Any astrologers out there that can shed light on this? Is this a simple coincidence, or is it because as Mark Twain supposedly said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

Unfortunately, we don't have the answer (and I'd be leery of any hard causal theories), but we are happy that May 14th has passed and the post-May 14 Kouz, he of the .808 OPS, appears to be in the house.


WebSoulSurfer said...

I have been extremely pleased with the June Kouzmanoff has been having, especially since he has been playing for one of my fantasy leagues out of necessity since the end of May.

I was not aware of the May 14th connection or I may have picked him up earlier.

Kouzmanoff has set a personal record in RBI for any month with 20 and has hit 6 home runs and June is not over yet. The Padres still have 6 games to go.

My only quibble is that he has a 15/1 K/BB ratio in June.

Even with the strike outs, all Padres fans can hope for is that he keeps hitting like he has the last 6 weeks for the rest of the season.

Unknown said...

I thought the title might be a reference to "lies, damn lies and statistics" since people are claiming his two errors are an indication he's now a great defender...
Oh well!

Paul DePodesta said...


Or maybe, "Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable."

Unknown said...

I believe that spring training is not enough for Kouzmanoff's swing... something the answer is simpler than you think.

SammyG said...

“If you torture numbers enough, they will confess to anything.”
John Kennedy of the Texas Taxpayers Research Association