Analytics

From BR Bullpen

Analytics refers to the application of science to the study of the game of baseball. The sciences in play are usually branches of statistical analysis and mathematics, but can also includes physiology and other related disciplines that focus on the mechanics of baseball gestures.

Analytics is a more advanced form of sabermetrics which was originally developed in the 1970s by amateurs based on data that was freely available, or could be compiled for the purpose. Originally seen as the pursuit of geeks who had never played the game, sabermetrics were eventually embraced by front offices who began to conduct their own studies, aimed at evaluating player performance and predicting their performance going forward. For this, all major league teams eventually formed their own departments by the 2010s, which were called "analytics". While some of the most talented amateurs were hired by baseball teams, thus breaking the old barrier between so-called insiders and outsiders, they were soon staffed by purposely-trained individuals, with teams developing their own proprietary metrics. In addition, the development of advanced monitoring systems such as Statcast, which track every movement on the field, opened up entire new fields of analysis and led to the development of concepts such as exit velocity and launch angle, that soon became household words among baseball fans.

Another branch of analytics looks at physical performance, and especially how to alter certain things such as pitcher mechanics (and particularly the release point of the ball), spin rates of breaking balls, or swing mechanics to improve player performance. This typically uses advanced technologies such as cameras that can break down a swing or a pitching motion into minute images.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Benjamin Baumer and Andrew Zimbalist: The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA, 2014. ISBN 978-0-8122-4572-1
  • Ronald Blum: "Analysis: Baseball has become a prisoner of technology", The Miami Herald, January 17, 2020. [1]
  • Anthony Castrovince: A Fan's Guide to Baseball Analytics: Why WAR, WHIP, wOBA, and Other Advanced Sabermetrics Are Essential to Understanding Modern Baseball, Sports Publishing, New York, NY, 2020. ISBN 978-1683583448
  • Jimmy Golen (Associated Press): "Stats pioneer Bill James: Don’t blame us for boring baseball", APNews.com, April 9, 2021. [2]
  • Jack Hamilton: "Building the Next Babe Ruth", The Atlantic, July 2019, pp. 43-45.
  • Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik: The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players, Basic Books, New York, NY, 2019. ISBN 978-1541698949