Thursday, May 24, 2007

New issue of "By the Numbers"

The new (February) issue of "By the Numbers" is now available at my website.

BTW, I am out of town for most of the next four weeks, so postings may not be as frequent as usual.



At Thursday, May 24, 2007 1:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil: You should refer Pavitt to Dan Fox's excellent 3-part series of articles on the HBP issue. The last one is here: His research casts doubt on a number of the Drinen-Bradbury conclusions. For example, it turns out not to be true the AL HBP rate rose when the DH was introduced.

A critical factor overlooked in most or all of the literature on hit batters is the extreme distribution of HBP among hitters. A small number of hitters draw a huge number of HBPs, and this can impact league averages. For example, the large reduction of the AL advantage in the 1990s can be accounted for almost entirely by Baylor's retirement and the arrival of Kendall and Biggio in the NL. A lot of statistical analysis has been done on this issue, with findings of "significance" that may just reflect a handful of players retiring, switching leagues, or arriving.

The tiny magnitude of the findings also don't get enough attention. We're told that pitchers' own chance of being hit is "four times greater" if they come to bat in the inning after they hit a batter on other team. But that means there is only a .007 chance they will face retaliation in that plate appearance! (the regular rate is.0022). Even a real headhunter would probably only get hit himself one additional time in his career. Can pitchers possibly even detect a threat this subtle, to the extent that it affects how often they hit batters? It's pretty farfetched.

At Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:57:00 AM, Blogger Phil Birnbaum said...

Guy, Thanks, will refer Charlie to your comment here (and another comment you made in December ... let me find it ... here.

Your point about the extreme distribution pretty much nails it, I think.


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