Category Archives: Collaborations

Testing the Axe Bat’s claims

Collaboration with Jeff Long and Dan Kopitzke

To date Baden Sports, the parent company of Axe Bat, says it has backed up these claims through ergonomic and biomechanical research. The most extensive study on their product, completed by a team at UCLA, exemplifies much of their support for these claims. You can read the results of that study as it applies to the claims above on their website here, and you can also read more details from the full study here.

We wanted to take it a step further though, performing an independent study in a real world setting. Specifically, we wanted to look at whether the Axe Bat stood up to the performance claims that they make.

Read the rest on Baseball Prospectus (my first article there!)


Combining Technologies to Measure Swing Development

As hitters develop, their mechanics evolve over time into a swing that both shares many commonalities with other players and is unique to their own game. But tracking a player’s progress on that journey to a consistent swing has always been tricky. Scouting and video analysis can give players a sense of how repeatable their mechanics are, but these are expensive, time-consuming, and limited to players at the highest level, whom we would expect to already have the most consistent mechanics.

Enter technology. Technological developments, including inertial bat sensors and camera-based ball tracking systems, should make it possible to develop a quantitative measure of consistency readily available to a wider range of players, with a wider range of abilities. This will allow young hitters to better measure their progress while also giving scouts and coaches a tool to judge prospective players.

In this article, we look for a way to quantify that relationship between consistency and hitter quality. We measured over 1,500 individual swings from 25 hitters, ranging in age from Little Leaguers to NCAA Division 1 players. We also collected different kinds of swings from each hitter, having each player hit off a tee and a pitching machine, with the goal of hitting first for power and later for contact.

Read the rest in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2016

(Collaboration with Dan Kopitzke, K-Zone Academy, Apex, NC)

2015 MLB Postseason Poll

A different website would see those results and say, “We’re due!” But not us. We here at Beyond the Box Score are well-versed in the Gambler’s Fallacy, so instead we say, “The Law of Large Numbers means that eventually someone will randomly happen upon a World Series participant!”*

*-Actually, we go on to say other things about how this technically assumes that World Series picks actually follow a random distribution and so on, but that’s when I stop listening to us.

Let’s get back on that horse and see who of our 17 blind squirrels will be the one to finally find that nut.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

Pitching Backwards: Designing a Bullpen Usage Critique

Collaboration with Jeff Long

Perplexed, I posed a simple question to a colleague, Bryan Cole. I wanted to know how realistic it is for a manager to use recent performance to ‘predict’ a reliever’s next performance. Bryan built out a series of scatter plots that quickly illustrate how difficult it would be to say with confidence that recent performance was especially significant. We selected three relievers (one elite, one middle-of-the-road, and one poor) to quickly take a look at how recent performance predicts the results of a pitcher’s next outing.

Read the rest of Jeff’s article at Baseball Prospectus ($)