View Full Version : The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed

02-19-2007, 07:02 AM
The 2/16/07 issue of The Wall Street Journal had a brief article on the above book, written by Professor J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University. I haven't read the book, but I found the review to be of interest.
According to the article, Professor Bradbury, an economist, has analyzed the effect of market size and has calculated that every 1.58 million residents is good for one extra win per season, using data from 1995 to 2004. Based solely upon population, the Yankees should win 10.61 more games than the Brewers. The Brewers, Royals and Pirates all did much worse than their population bases predicted.
The book also argues that lefties don't catch because there are four other positions (firstbase and the three outfield slots) so there is no need to put a lefty behind the plate--not because it would be more difficult for a lefthander to throw out basestealers at third. Thirdbase is stolen, when open, only 13.7% of the time, and the difference in runs scored with a man on third rather than second is only 0.4 a game.
In his book Professor Bradbury also argues there is no evidence that having a strong hitter batting after another another hitter provides "protection" to the first guy in the lineup. Bill James has made similar arguments in the past, but here I am unconvinced (of course I haven't read the book, just the review). I still believe that "protection" does help at leaat some hitters, but I have no statistical evidence to support my belief.
The book argues that the presence of the DH has had only a very minor effect upon the HBP rate in the AL as compared to the NL, finding little support for the idea that the lack of the threat of personal retaliation in the AL has made its pitchers more likely to hit other hitters.
Oh, while this is hardly news, Professor Bradbury did find that the best predictor of a hitter's production is not average, RBIs or runs scored. It is on base percentage plus slugging average.
No review was available of Marty Brennaman's upcoming book, "Baseball Announcer: The Real Game Exposed," wherein Brennaman reportedly argues that the best predictor of a hitter's production is how fast the hitter runs out onto the field.

Rex Argos
02-19-2007, 01:41 PM
When I saw your link, I almost fell on the floor. I was reading about this guy just this morning an economics website. Here's a few links that all of you might enjoy--some have an economics bent to them, so don't get angry.



Again, these sites will have an economic/academia slant--not your typical fan sites. Happy reading!

02-19-2007, 08:05 PM
Nice to see the market size advantage quantified. :thumbup:

Is it too soon to pre-order Marty's book from Amazon? ;)

02-20-2007, 03:26 PM
I think the market-size indicators have some interesting potential. Assuming the research is good and the market-size indicators sufficiently correllate to historical performance, it would be interesting to compare predicted performance based on market-size with actual performance. Maybe it might help determine whether some small-market teams have problems because of their market or could there be other possible causes (like bad management). It might also help show the magnitude of ineptitude of large market teams that have historically underperformed (like the Cubs and Phillies).