It’s a Numbers Game

In sports, especially baseball, numbers are integral in determining which team wins a game, how much money a player will earn in his next contract, how valuable a player is to their team, and so much more.  Not only are the players who create the statistical numbers on the playing field important, but the people who count the numbers play a crucial role in the operations of a baseball team.

Thirty years ago, baseball statisticians mostly spent their time counting basic statistics such as hits and runs, and they would share the numbers with the decision makers within a team’s front office. However, today the statisticians have become the decision makers for baseball teams as they now draft players, trade for players, and determine how much a player will be paid.  To learn about the basics of baseball statistics, check out this cool video series!

The history of baseball scouting and statistical record keeping has changed dramatically over the past thirty to forty years, for a brief history of those changes check out this great webpage!

One of the biggest changes that has made its way into baseball is the defensive shift.  In the image above you can see that all four infielders for this team are on the right side of the field, meaning that the entire left side of the field is wide open for the hitter!  Teams make these changes because they know that certain hitters (like the one batting against the team above) will hit 9 out of 10 balls to the right side, so they can get more outs this way over the course of a long 162 game season.  Basic math such as fractions and percentages are vital components of baseball, and determine who gets the chance to play.  As a baseball fan there is never a shortage of numbers running through your mind!

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