This article is part of our The Z Files series.
Recency bias and fear of missing out are two strong forces, often unduly influencing rankings and player selection. One of the prime examples is playoff performance. Every season, there are a handful of players elevated or penalized based on postseason numbers, prompting me to tweet the following poll:
From a purely analytical perspective, the answer should be yes or no. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. However, as noted, that's not the way the human psyche works.
A plausible argument can be tendered for and against inclusion. Before discussing each, I wonder if the results would have been different if the question was posed following a full 162-game season? It's possible the shortened 2020 campaign influenced the responses, as people feel the playoffs added more data to an unusually limited sample.
My suspicion is if the poll were presented after a normal season and not while a playoff hero was rounding the bases after slugging his umpteenth October homer, "No" would have dominated. There are two chief reasons for this. First, the sample would have been cited as being too small. The player happened to get hot or cold in the playoffs and the trend would have flipped at some point during the regular season. Second, it isn't fair some players had the chance to generate more data while others sat at home.