Beyond Moneyball: How Big Data is Changing Baseball

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JPII baseball, March 12 2013by Angela Guess

Rick Delgado of Sport Techie recently wrote, “The amount of data being generated today is mind-blowing. In fact, one baseball game is close to generating up to 1TB of data. This is all possible thanks to new technologies dedicated to data generation, which include high-speed video equipment and even doppler radar. The technology is similar to what’s used by other sports, like in the NBA and NFL, only with a focus finely-tuned to baseball.”

He continues, “Teams are able to track player performance and go far beyond surface statistics. This also gives them a better view of a player’s value, which can be crucial when making decisions on who to trade or who to move up from the minor leagues. Big data analytics also gives teams a clearer look at how players perform under very specific circumstances along with a better analysis of player-batter matchups. Big data is also shaping strategic decisions, such as how managers construct their starting lineups and who they use for pinch hitting.”

Delgado goes on, “One of the biggest ways big data is changing baseball is in the defensive game. The past few years have seen the widespread use of what are called ‘defensive shifts.’ Based on big data analysis, teams can determine where opposing batters will likely hit the ball. Infield coaches can then give signals to players to shift to a better area, depending on the player coming up to bat. The success of this use of data has lead to more teams adopting it and using it more often. In 2010, about 2,400  defensive shifts happened in MLB contests. That number had increased to more than 8,000 by 2013.”

Read more here.

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