Swing Baby! And Keep Swinging!

Ken at Top Breakout Stocks recently made a comment here about this WSJ article. What did he say?

“Replace the word ‘strikeout’ with ‘taking a loss’ and ‘runs’ with ‘profits’ and it’s a perfect analogy for trading.”

So I decided to try it. Here is the article:

There is no easier way to get booed in baseball than to end an inning with a swing and a miss taking a loss. For as long as the game has been played, hitters have been taught to make contact and put the ball in play, but a new generation of sluggers is finding success swinging from its heels on every pitch. The negative stigma surrounding the strikeout taking a loss has been destroyed. No player exemplifies this change more than Arizona’s Mark Reynolds. Last season, he became the first player in baseball history to whiff take a loss 200 times in a single season, and now he’s on pace to do it again. Arizona has been willing to live with long walks to the dugout because of what he is able to do when he does make contact—he’s hitting .440 with 40 home runs profits when the bat meets the ball. Other notable players with this all-or-nothing approach include Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard, the Nationals’ Adam Dunn, the Rays’ Carlos Pena, Oakland’s Jack Cust and Seattle’s Russell Branyan. Each of these five has racked up 140 strikeouts losses or more this season, a feat nearly unheard of 30 years ago. Bobby Bonds’s record of 189 strikeouts losses in a season held up from 1970 to 2004, but since then, it has been passed six times, and Mr. Reynolds is just about to do it again. Run scoring Profits have also increased as the strikeout taking a loss has become more acceptable. Statistical analysis has shown the strikeout taking a loss is no worse than any other kind of out, and the trade-off for extra home runs profits is more than worth it. Dan Plesac, a two-time All Star and current MLB Network analyst, says today’s players are “more rewarded if you hit .270 and get 30 home runs profits than if you hit .310 but hit 20.”

Works!

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3 thoughts on “Swing Baby! And Keep Swinging!

  1. I’ve used this analogy for years when explaining why I’m willing to trade with a system that “only” averages 30-40% winners. I’m willing to take many small losses (strike outs) because I know my trade entries (appearances at the plate) will statistically generate hits and runs (profit).

    I ask baseball fans how valuable they think a hitter who averages .350 (35% win ratio) AND slaps a home run about 10-15% of the time he appears at the plate (catches a good long trend) would be… would they be interested in having that person on their team even if he leads the league in strike outs? Their answer is invariably “yes, I’d be stupid not to want that person”.

    Makes sense to me for baseball and trading.

  2. I COULDN’T AGREE MORE. ANYONE WHO IS AFRAID TO TAKE LOSSES (CONTROLLED LOSSES) CAN’T POSSIBLY BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE LONG RUN. SHOW ME A GUY WHO CAN PICK ALL WINNERS AND I’LL SHOW YOU A GUY WHO IS EITHER FULL OF $H!T OR THE RICHEST MAN ON EARTH.

  3. Good analogy. Frequency vs. magnitude. It’s why A- Rod’s the highest paid player in the league, and he makes nearly double what Ichiro Suzuki does, despite a lower BA.

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