First Faculty Advisor
Major League Baseball; Free Agency
Do pro athletes try harder and perform better during their free agency year? Each year this question is asked in many professional sports. The purpose and objective of this project is to discover whether Major League Baseball players actually have better statistics during their free agency year. The result will add creditability to one side of the issue at hand. Data collected consists of offensive statistics in the year prior to their free agency year, their free agency year itself and the year after their free agency season. A simple paired T-test was applied for six major offensive categories: HR/AB, RBI/AB, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Two analyses were taken. The first analysis was between the year before their free agency season and their contract year and the second was between their free agency season and the year after. All data was compiled into spreadsheets and T-tests were conducted. Analysis confirmed that athletes showed an increase in their numbers from the year before the free agency year to their free agency year in all six categories, but only a significant increase in one category, RBI/AB. Data also showed that from their free agent year to the following year there was a significant drop off in statistics in all six categories. As a result, on average, athletes do tend to perform better during their free agency season. However, since there were only two significant increases in statistics, motivation to get a bigger contract cannot be the only reason for the increase in statistics. There were other reasons that affected an athlete’s performance from year to year independent of whether it was their free agent year or not. These reasons are explored in more detail within the paper.