Category Archives: MATLAB

World Baseball Classic qualifiers open in Sydney

Sixteen teams will compete in the tournament next spring. Twelve of those slots are already filled based on teams’ performance in 2013. The last four slots will be decided this spring and fall. Four double-elimination tournaments (each between four different countries) will be contested, with the winner advancing to the next round. A preview of each tournament featuring our Elo rankings is below.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

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)

International baseball: Premier 12 preview and summer wrapup

Baseball, as former commissioner Bart Giamatti once wrote, “is designed to break your heart.” The World Series is over, the chill rains have come, the days are all twilight, and we’re forced to scavenge, staring glumly at the garish colors and chemical aftertaste of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Baseball!

There is one more event on the calendar before the offseason: The World Baseball Softball Confederation is hosting the first Premier 12 tournament in Japan and Taiwan next week. The event features the top 12 nations in the WBSC’s rankings, which are based on participation in other WBSC tournaments, and will serve as a qualifying event for future Olympic baseball tournaments. According to the WBSC, the Premier 12 is the “flagship professional baseball world championship.” This is not to be confused with the World Baseball Championship, which was labeled the WBSC’s “Official men’s Baseball World Championship” [sic] when the MLB-WBSC partnership was renewed in September. (WBSC did not respond to requests to clarify the distinction between the two.)

Read the rest at Beyond the Box Score

July international baseball update

July is typically a slow period in the sports calendar, even for baseball fans. This year, though, the Pan American Games help fill the doldrums around the All-Star Game. To help prepare you for this month’s events, I’ve compiled another update of my international baseball rankings with predictions of the men’s and women’s baseball events at the Pan-Am Games, along with the European championship qualifiers being held at the end of the month.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

Do hard-hit balls produce more errors?

…And whereas the home team’s fielding percentage decreases on harder-hit balls, the road team stays oddly consistent — and relatively error-free! — over the meaty part of the curve.

These data suggest home teams get the benefit of the doubt on would-be errors: a ground ball hit at the same speed is more likely to be called an error if the home team is fielding than if it is batting. If the relationship were flipped, you could argue that some of it was due to the visitors’ inexperience with the nuances of an individual ballpark. But it seems unreasonable to argue that visiting defenders get more reliable away from their home grounds. Besides, scorers are incentivized to turn close calls for home batters into hits (to boost batting averages), and close calls for visiting batters into errors (to help keep down ERAs).

Read the rest at Beyond the Box Score

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