From a previous article I submitted at www.profantasybaseball
The sophomore slump for Major Leaguers happens when a player fails to live up to the perceived values set by their success in their rookie season. The most common rationale is that the league does a better job of adjusting to the player than the player does to the league.
For the second year pitcher though, fatigue is the leading contributor to their decline. The increase in innings from the previous year leads to what some refer to as the “Verducci Effect”. This happens when a young rookie pitcher has a hefty increase in IP thus leading to an underperformance the following year. Their success can be achieved by minimal use early in the season. Example: as a 5th starter they may only be called upon for 2 starts in April.
The hitter has to adjust because he is now a “known” commodity. Scouting reports have been written and re-written, video has been analyzed and new approaches have been developed to expose his weaknesses. He will also have to adjust if he plans to succeed in year two. He will have to stay in shape, continue to practice and listen to his coaches.
Some of the classic Sophomore Slumps of recent memory are as follows.
Geovany Soto was ROY in 2008 and collapsed in 2009.
Gordon Beckham played in 28 more games his sophomore year but still had far less fantasy relevant numbers.
Rick Porcello had an outstanding rookie campaign but was then sent down to the minors in year two to get his control back. His numbers reflect a sophomore slump on the pitching side.
Here are the players receiving votes last year in the ROY award. I expect 20% of these players to increase their fantasy relevant numbers, 50% to stay nearly the same and 30% to experience the Sophomore Slump. Draft wisely when targeting all 2nd year players.