Baseball is a crazy game. There are times when I’m playing out there and I can’t believe what’s happening. I mean, you’re standing out there in left field and the batter hits a line drive right at you, and you go to catch it but the ball goes through your legs and rolls all the way to the wall. And you ask yourself, “How did that happen? Am I nuts? Am I losing my mind? Did I do something wrong on that play?” And then you come into the clubhouse and look at video of what happened, and you see it again and again—line drive right at you, ball through your legs—and it makes no sense.
Well, one thing you can do to help yourself is learn things about hitters in the league—what they’re good at, what they’re bad at. It sounds pretty basic—maybe too basic—but baseball is a simple game played by complex people. If you understand something about how a hitter likes to hit, that can give you an edge on a play like that. For instance: A few years ago I was playing against a guy who had never homered to left field in his career. He
The conversation began with a question about the general idea of statistical analysis in baseball. After years of being told that batting average, RBIs and wins are the most important stats, is there any truth to them at all?
“You look at RBIs, and it’s just really a good stat if you’re lucky enough to bat behind somebody like Albert Pujols,” left fielder Matt Holliday said. “The idea is to drive those runs in. But I think on-base percentage is the most important stat, because that makes your team score more runs. The only reason people say RBIs are important is because they’re exciting.”
“I’ve never thought that RBIs were a very good stat,” said first baseman Lance Berkman, who has 1,169 RBIs in his career, 16th among active players. “As much as anything else, it’s a reflection of opportunity. If you have good hitters batting in front of you and hitting behind you, then you’re going to have more opportunities to get RBIs than someone who has less talent around him.”
The baseball world has been forced to pay attention to the use of statistics in recent years. This is, in large part, because of Moneyball, a book that profiled the Oakland A’s front office and their general manager Billy Beane. This group was at the forefront of some statistical concepts that are now commonplace around the league. One concept that was not explicitly discussed in the book was base running, but Beane and the A’s were well ahead of the curve here as well.
The A’s were generally better than their rivals at valuing stolen bases and avoiding being caught stealing. This is notable because stolen bases are generally considered to be a good thing by analysts, but not by many traditional baseball scouts. It is also notable because stolen bases are generally considered to be a good thing by analysts, but not by many traditional baseball scouts. It is also notable because one does not need to be particularly fast to steal a base; one needs only to have a good idea of when it is likely to work and when it isn’t (and isn’t afraid to go anyway). While speed certainly helps, even slower players can be effective if they make good decisions about when to try for an extra base.
If you want to become a better baseball hitter, you have to be able to analyze and understand what you’re doing. While this sounds obvious, it’s the most important thing that a hitter can do.
But there are so many things involved in hitting a baseball that it’s hard to know where to start. It’s also hard to be honest about what you’re doing wrong. Because of this, I think it’s helpful for hitters to get feedback from people who see lots of hitters, like coaches and scouts.
There are other ways to get feedback on your swing and approach as well. Cameras and computers and apps can give you all kinds of information. Some of the information is useful, but not all of it is. And there is some information out there that will actually hurt you if you believe it. So if you don’t know how to analyze the data, you’re better off without it.
One thing that I think is very important for hitters is video analysis. Video allows you to see your swing from different angles and at different speeds. This helps you see where your bat is in relation to the ball when it hits the bat, how your body is moving, how
Statistical analysis of baseball data has been around for a long time. It is often referred to as Sabermetrics, after the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research. The term Sabermetrics was first used by baseball analyst Bill James in a 1980 article. The field is focused on uncovering new insights about baseball by using statistical methods, and it has grown considerably since its initiation.
The wealth of information available in today’s game offers an enormous opportunity to improve team performance. However, having all this data can be challenging – teams are faced with the task of organizing and managing it, while still extracting meaningful information that can help them make informed decisions.
Luckily, statistical software has been developed over the years to make this process easier. And since baseball is now so data-driven, many players and teams are using advanced analytics to their advantage.
I’ve been thinking about a baseball dilemma that I haven’t heard anyone else mention. It’s about the wild card, and what it does to the last day of the season.
The dilemma is this: teams that have clinched their division early often sit their star players for the final couple of games. This is a common practice in other sports, like football and basketball, but in baseball I think it may be a mistake. And it’s a mistake because of the wild card.
When a team has clinched its division, and nothing more is at stake, managers often sit their stars for one or more games to rest them for the playoffs. This is called “being cautious.” The Twins are being cautious with Joe Mauer, who has been out all week with an injury; he might not even play this weekend. The Cardinals are being cautious with Albert Pujols, who has a sore foot. Most teams that have already clinched their division are being cautious with at least a few players right now.
But here’s my question: if your team has already clinched its division and you know they’re likely to rest some starters over the weekend, shouldn’t you go to the ballpark today rather than tomorrow?
In 1950s, the American psychologist B. F. Skinner published a series of experiments in which pigeons learned to perform complex tasks by associating them with food rewards. The experiments were widely covered in the press, and Mr. Skinner became famous.
One of his pigeons, however, missed out on the fame and glory. This pigeon had learned to peck at the right time to make a toy soldier strike a drum. Apparently it thought this was extremely cool, because even after the food rewards stopped it kept enthusiastically doing its little dance every time it saw the toy soldier.
It’s not clear why this pigeon didn’t get famous. Because he was a pigeon? Because he was insane? Because he was underachieving? Because his field wasn’t prestigious enough? I’d argue that all these are the same explanation: He missed out because he wasn’t human.
In science as in other fields, humans are considered inherently more interesting than non-humans, and human behavior is considered inherently more complex than non-human behavior.