The old guard of baseball analysts love to cite a player’s confidence as an explanation of his recent performance. When a player is going well, it’s because he’s confident; and when he’s struggling, he lacks confidence.
The fact that this still passes for legitimate baseball analysis in the year 2013 is confounding and a little sad.
As I wrote some months ago, clustering is a perfectly natural occurrence in any statistical accumulation, and so in baseball when a player goes through streaks, it’s not because his confidence is high or low, it’s because of random luck. The confidence factor is the effect of success or failure, not the cause of it.
For months all that was repeated by pundits, specifically Bob Ojeda, was that Lucas Duda was too passive at the plate and was unconfident, and that is why he was struggling offensively. Using traditional stats, Duda was struggling; he had a .235 batting average, 11 home runs and 29 RBIs in 68 games before being sent down.
Yet another failu...