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Skin Blues wrote:This is the million dollar question.
I don't think there's any real answer other than "hindsight is 20/20". You can look for favourable matchups and healthy players, but really, the only way to identify a hot streak is after the fact. This is why it's so silly to see people say "play him while he's hot". When do you pick him up? After going 3-4 with a HR? Two games in a row with multiple hits? And then when do you stop playing him, or cut bait? After two games of being 0-4? You end up missing out the initial two games of the hot streak and get a big fat 0-8 tacked onto the end.
And then there's the issue that hot streaks really don't even exist outside of a normal distribution of events. TangoTiger did some work with this when it was brought up on Twitter by I think it was Morgan Ensberg. It was during Miguel Cabrera's hot streak a couple months ago. Here's a link to the article (a lot of the good stuff is in the comments).
jfg wrote:I don't get how there can be an argument against being locked in or hitting in the clutch. Any person should know that when they are mentally locked in they perform better. When you start to doubt your abilities or lose focus on your job, you perform worse. It's not about being physically better at given times, it's about being psychologically prepared at given times. Obviously studies aren't going to be able to prove that these factors exist since being mentally prepared isn't going to always equate to success and I'm not claiming that other things like BABIP don't factor into a hot or cold streak. But think about your own job and how you perform when you're fully into it mentally. If you've played sports, you know how easy it is to doubt yourself and start playing like garbage because you begin to make tweaks to the way you normally play. But, when you're locked in mentally , not doubting your method of operation or thinking too hard about what's at stake, you tend to play better.
To answer the original question... I don't think the best psychologist in the world could tell you.
jfg wrote:Absolutely. But, it does exist. Just because statistical evidence doesn't prove it exists doesn't mean that a person can't be locked in or clutch on any given night/week/month/year...etc. Stats can't break down psyche, if somebody finds a way to do so they will get paid a ton of money and their findings will transcend any game being played. This is why drafts are still an inexact science, why Chuck Knoblauch didn't end up a hall of famer, why signing with the Yankees isn't always the smart move, why a slump can turn into a year to forget. Stats and scouting will never be able to predict how a player pans out or how far a hot or cold streak will go.
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