Sabermetrics are revolutionizing baseball
Baseball is a game that has been played for over 100 years. During this time, the sport has seen very little change. The bases are still 90 feet apart from one another. The pitcher stands 60 feet, six inches away from the batter. A batter still has to touch all the bases and returns to home plate in order for their team to score a run.
Lately, there has been a change in how baseball is analyzed.
Sabermetrics has turned baseball into a game filled with many statistics that people can see.
It used to be that a hitter’s greatness was viewed by their batting average, home run total and runs batted in total. These stats showed how productive a hitter was in past eras. Today, baseball uses newer statistics, such as on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). This combines the older stats with OPS together.
Sabermetrics searches for the objective methodology about the sport of baseball. Baseball writer Bill James is not only the pioneer of sabermetrics; he is also the person who coined the phrase sabermetrics.
In 2012, there was a heated debate over the American League Most Valuable Player between Angels’ outfielder Mike trout and Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera. If you look at past statistics, Miguel Cabrera had a superior year. He won the Triple Crown that year. He had a .330 batting average with 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in. Cabrera’s team also made the playoffs while Trout failed to make the playoffs.
In 2012, the sabermetrics statistics favored Trout over Cabrera. Trout was a better defensive player than Cabrera, and all-around better base runner. Trout enjoyed a slight edge in on-base percentage. Trout also became the first major league player to hit 30 home runs, steal 45 bases in a season and score 125 runs in a season.
However, Cabrera ended up winning the American League Most Valuable Player for the 2012 season over Trout.
Another important part of baseball is defense.
Defense has been a critical aspect of baseball for many years. Today, it is seeing one of the biggest changes in the sports history. There has been a recent change in how teams shift their infields around for opposing batters. Some batters have strong batting tendencies that teams will use an extreme shift against them.
In a shift, fielders will move away from their normal position and will start play in a position that is normally occupied by a different fielder. As a result, teams may put three or four infielders to that spot.
Before this, teams would usually have all four of their infielders stay at their normal positions. Many old school baseball fans are not in favor of defensive shifts. They complain when a ball is hit where a fielder has vacated his position in the shift. Teams will even shift their infields around depending on the pitch count for the opposing batter. This means that someone could start an at bat at one position, and end at a different one.
However, defense often saves a team runs throughout the course of a season. In today’s game, one or two runs can determine the outcome of a game or a championship.