Seems the "contract year" theory is often invoked as a catch-all boogeyman to explain the sudden performance or decline of a player when no real explanation exists. My question is: does anyone have any REAL empirical evidence (stats, etc.) to support or disprove the theory. Put another way, is there any actual stats that shows a player in a "contract year" is more likely to have an abnormally strong year (relative to his career numbers) than players who aren't in a contract year?
Personally, I think the theory is bunk. Although it SEEMS that lots of players in contract years have great seasons, but I think that's only because those are the players that read about, the ones coming off big years and getting big contracts. You don't hear about the tens or hundred other players coming off lousy contract years who aren't making the papers with their shiny new contracts.
The theory seems to have some superficial appeal, to be sure. The idea that a player will work harder to perform better when it means a big payday makes a lot of sense. By the same token, though, the added pressure to perform must be huge, and I'm constantly seeing that excuse (too much pressure, bright lights, etc.) used to explain POOR performace. So to me, the argument cuts both ways in terms of making practical sense. SO the only thing left is the actual numbers. Anyone have anything?
I am the Master. Don't question the Master. Just do what he says and be proud.
I can see someone getting focused and working harder because their future is on the line.
But, the notion that after the pay day comes the player slacks off escapes me. The guy has to walk into a locker room with 23 of his peers and managers, he has to deal with the front office, the fans, and most importantly - THE MEDIA. I think he'd have a problem with people calling him lazy, a slacker, a dead beat, etc. etc. etc.
Beltre had a great season last season and I can't see his bad performance to this point not bothering him - he is human afterall.
my opinion is this: IF contract year theory exists, it would be extremely difficult to use it to gain a fantasy advantage. reasons being A) it is difficult to determing who or to what extent a player increased his strength and conditioning in the offseason and B) increased strength and conditioning may not necessarily translate into meaningful statistical improvement (i.e. there are many factors outside of the players control).
on a league wide basis, contract year theory does not seem to hold water. many players in contract years dont have significant improvements. since it does not appear to be valid on a league wide basis it is difficult to employ that strategy. it is possible that contract year theory exists on a personal level, but determining who that person is before the season starts would be very difficult.
wrveres wrote:The theory is bunk, and we have had many, many articles and facts in here disproving it.
For every 1 player that someone claims had a contract year, I can name 10 that didn't.
You can't call it bunk. There is no statistical way to prove it as bunk.
Let me break this down, because I think you might agree:
It has been proven that, in total, MLB players do NOT play better during contract years.
HOWEVER, there are certainly single cases where it can have an impact. Like I've said over and over... if a player is out of shape, then decides to actually train prior to his contract year, this makes a HUGE difference. This is what I believe is true with someone like Beltre.