Do Fans Know More About Their Own Teams Than Other Teams?

When it comes to forecasting players, do fans know more about their own team than other teams?

Randy Winn showed the biggest gap in terms of forecasted playing time. The Yankee fans had him down for 96 games, while the non-Yanks fan had him down for 110. (In my processing, where I added additional filters, it was 89 and 119.) And if we look at the Yankee fans at my site, they had him for 89 games. So far, he’s played in 26 out of 40 games, a rate of 105 games per season. He’s pretty much in the middle of the two at this point, though a shade close to the non-Fans.

The next biggest gap was Mike Fontenot of the Cubs, with a Cub forecast of 100 games and non-Cub of 125 games (or 105, 129 using my numbers). He’s played 32 games out of 41, or a rate of 126 games. Non-Cub fans nailed this one. The Cub fans at my site had him at 115 games.

Then there’s Coco Crisp, who has yet to play a game. Let’s forget him.

Jayson Nix of the White Sox: 81 v 98. Actual 13 of 39. Both are bad, but the Sox-fans are closer.

On the flip side are those team fans more enthused about players. Nate Schierholtz was 131 for Giants fans and 116 for non-Giants fans. Actual: 37 of 39. Giants fans nailed it.

At this point, it’s hard to say what’s the best estimate. Are the team fans closer to their teams, or are they too close (eye of the storm) to see well? Or, do we simply do the time-tested tradition of splitting the difference between the two? We’ll check back at the end of the year.

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7 Responses to “Do Fans Know More About Their Own Teams Than Other Teams?”

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  1. Bronnt says:

    In general, you can probably rely on fans of a team to be more optimistic about their team’s overall health.

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  2. joser says:

    Injuries are going to skew this kind of analysis a lot. Were the Yankees fans projecting Granderson to get injured while the non-fans were not, resulting in the varying projections for Winn? Of course not, but that (semi-) random factor is going to overwhelm everything else with some frequency when looking at individual players. That should average out when looking at the projections across all MLB, since the fans should be factoring injuries into their playing time estimates (though I’m not convinced they are) but even whole teams may be out of whack considering the knock-on effects of injuries within the semi-constrained pool of an MLB 40-man roster.

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  3. ryno1226 says:

    I’m not sure the non-Cub fans actually nailed the Fontenot projection.

    Since Starlin Castro was called up, Fontenot as appeared in 8 of 12 games (3 starts), 67% instead of the 78% he’d appeared in up to this point. If this lesser usage pattern continues, he’d end up playing in 112 games this year, extremely close to what the Cubs fans on your site predicted.

    It seems reasonable to think that Cubs fans may have factored in the possibility of Castro’s call-up more heavily than non-Cub fans, as fans of a team are typically more familiar with its farm system than non-fans (and probably more optimistic about the arrival of a stud prospect).

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  4. Jared McKiernan says:

    Yeah, Fontenot won’t be playing a whole lot going forward with Castro in the bigs and Theriot at 2B, he might keep appearing in 3/4 of the games as a PH though if that counts? He’d be the top LHB bench guy, although with his limited ability to play SS and the Cubs love of Theriot (a personal least fave of mine) I doubt we’ll see a whole lot of Fontenot in the field, probably once or twice a week barring a big change.

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  5. pft says:

    Echoing Josers point. Playing time for bench players are hard to project, a roll of the dice really. Winn has got as much playing time as he has because of the injury to Granderson.

    Based on my limited observation of Winn, Yankee fans were right to expect, and hope, that Winn would not get as much playing time as he has.

    Some fans get too close to their teams and are prone to what I call fan boy analysis, getting too high or low depending on how the team does, and they all have their favourite player who can do know wrong, and players they don’t like who are thrown under the bus at first opportunity (during a loss or losing streak). But they do know more about their team, even if some are shockingly ignorant about other teams.

    Non-fans who are knowledgeable about other teams might give a more objective analysis about other teams (unless it’s a hated rivalry), but there are 29 other teams out there, and one can’t be that knowledgable about each team at a moment in time. For playing time and usage I would take the fan boys analysis, but injuries make such projections difficult.

    The best fan/non-fan projectors are probably those who are involved in fantasy leagues. I no longer bother, but when I did I had a better idea about other teams players and playing time situation.

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  6. Andy R. says:

    Re: Winn

    It’s also not just Granderson’s injury, the last few days with Nick Swisher out and now Marcus Thames injured Winn has been the only back up outfielder. (I mean, Greg Golson has been getting playing time).

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