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Five Percent Solution

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Again, going to the 2005 Bill James Handbook well, another Giants-related note is found. For those not familiar with Bill James' "Favorite Toy", here's a quick setup from the Handbook itself:

The method was developed by Bill James (formerly under the name of "the Favorite Toy") and takes into account a player's age and performance level in predicting the possibility that he will accumulate certain career stats.
James gave it the "Favorite Toy" moniker to deflect the idea it was anything more than a curiosity, thought now it goes by the much more official name of "Career Assessments".

The formula gives, for example, Jim Thome a 11% chance to break Hank Aaron's home run record. If, of course, the 22% chance Bonds doesn't do so comes to pass. Or, in layman's terms, the 22% chance of a 50% chance of serious rioting in our fair city after back-to-back 110-loss seasons. Keep ice on that knee, Barry. If you need to lift anything heavy, just ask.

The really interesting part is that the formula gives Edgardo Alfonzo a 5% chance to go past 3000 hits in his career. A 5% chance! The formula is weighted heavily on the premise Alfonzo is actually 30, but most of us suspect he is using some sort of Mayan calendar where there are eight days a week. Perhaps that would explain why he would never want to do sit-ups after a hard day's night.

The Favorite Toy can't spit out a formula for zero probability. For example, even though the odds are very much stacked against Deivi Cruz hitting 700 homeruns this season, there is a statistically insignificant chance he could do so. He has hit homeruns in previous at-bats, so every time he comes up there is a possibility he could do so again. It can, however, spit out a probability so low it isn't worth mentioning. For Alfonzo to have a 5% chance is amazing, even considering he is almost halfway to 3000. In some parallel universe -- rather, 5% of all parallel universes where dinosaurs are not the dominant species* -- a 30-year old Fonzie is going to press out eight consecutive 200-hit seasons and have to wonder which hat to wear in Cooperstown.

Aw, heck. Why not this one, right? Starting....now. Wait, now. This time for reals..........now.

* Parallel universes where any sort of non-human is the dominant species would change this as well. Also, Sliders-like universes where green lights mean "stop", and red lights mean "go", might mess with Fonzie's run for 3000. Those kinds of parallel universes would not, however, affect the fact that Jerry O'Connell is, and will always be, the "Fat Kid" from Stand By Me.