Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Ike Davis Fallacy of False Cause

If you're not familiar with the term, fallacy of false cause is an economic term that's defined as the logical fallacy of arguing that two events that are correlated (that is, happen at about the same time), are assumed to have a causal connection. In other words, one event causes the other.

It's a fallacy that is often used by armchair GM's like myself. For instance, we say that since someone got married and now their home run totals are down, the player's married life is effecting his power at the plate. Logically, that's probably not the issue, but it makes for good sports fodder.

With all that said, I am now admittedly stating an argument that should be considered a fallacy of false cause. Here it goes: The Mets were better when Ike Davis was awful.

Ike Davis hit his 30th home run of the year last night and did so by having a multi-homer game. Since mid-June, Davis is batting over .270 and is leading the team in home runs and RBI over the same stretch. His second half turnaround is remarkable after most people, myself included, had written him off as a guy who needed to be sent down to the minors.

All that being said, over the same stretch of time the Mets record is nearly 20 games under .500. When Ike Davis was batting a miserable .170 for the better part of the season, the Mets were an above .500 team. Beyond that, David Wright was batting in the .320's when Davis was awful, but since Davis' turnaround Wright has been batting closer to .250.

Why? How does this happen? When Davis couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, there were plenty of games where the Mets needed his bat to protect Wright in the order or come through with an extra base hit in a close game. So now that he's hitting better shouldn't Wright see improved numbers because of a little protection in the order? If Davis is hitting more home runs and driving in runs shouldn't that translate into more W's?

One would think so, but one would also be wrong.

The Ike Davis Fallacy of False Cause is the perfect example that baseball is a team game and the Mets as a team are in need of much retooling. One player cannot swing the pendulum of losing in the opposite direction. A greater collective force is needed to change the tide.

I'm sure true baseball people realize this and see that the Mets can't just go out and get BJ Upton and think the Mets troubles are resolved. There's a greater force at work here.

Much work needs to be done.

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