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# Baseball's winning formula: Statistical analysis debunks the old adage 'Pitching is 75 percent of the game'

Date:
October 3, 2011
Source:
University of Delaware
Summary:
A new analysis found hitting accounts for more than 45 percent of Major League Baseball teams' winning records, fielding for 25 percent and pitching for 25 percent. And, the impact of stolen bases is greatly overestimated.

Baseball is America's pastime.
Credit: Image courtesy of Evan Krape, University of Delaware

Baseball legend Connie Mack famously said pitching is 75 percent of the game. He was wrong -- a new analysis by a University of Delaware professor finds it's just 25 percent.

This October, the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports will feature the article: An Estimate of How Hitting, Pitching, Fielding, and Base-stealing Impact Team Winning Percentages in Baseball. In it, University of Delaware Professor Charles (Charlie) Pavitt defines the perfect "formula" for MLB teams to use to build the ultimate winning team.

Pavitt found hitting accounts for more than 45% of teams' winning records, fielding for 25% and pitching for 25%. And, the impact of stolen bases is greatly overestimated.

He crunched hitting, pitching, fielding and base-stealing records for every MLB team over a 48-year period from 1951-1998 with a method no other researcher has used in this area. In statistical parlance, he used a conceptual decomposition of offense and defense into its component parts and then analyzed recombinations of the parts in intuitively meaningful ways.

He also found something many MLB teams don't know: the ability to steal bases is just not that important to the overall winning record of a professional baseball team.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Delaware. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

University of Delaware. "Baseball's winning formula: Statistical analysis debunks the old adage 'Pitching is 75 percent of the game'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929122932.htm>.
University of Delaware. (2011, October 3). Baseball's winning formula: Statistical analysis debunks the old adage 'Pitching is 75 percent of the game'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929122932.htm
University of Delaware. "Baseball's winning formula: Statistical analysis debunks the old adage 'Pitching is 75 percent of the game'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929122932.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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