Sports Analytics Blog

Book Reviews

Book Review: Big Data Baseball

In the spirit of Moneyball and The Extra 2%, Big Data Baseball looks at the market inefficiencies discovered by the Pittsburgh Pirates and how they utilized those findings to end a 20-year losing streak and get the Buccos into the playoffs. Author Travis Sawchik tells the story of how GM Neal Huntington and Manager Clint Hurdle used analytics to overcome limited payroll flexibility. Prominently featured are Pittsburgh analysts Dan Fox and Mike Fitgerald. Most importantly, is how Huntington and Hurdle positioned those analysts with traditional baseball people to set them up for their best chance for success.

Specifically, here are the strategies discussed in the book:

  • Defensive shifts
  • Catcher’s pitch-framing skills
  • Favoring a 2-seam over a 4-seam fastball
  • Injury prevention practices

Like the books mentioned above, Big Data Baseball is a must-read.

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