Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation

Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports

Editor-in-Chief: Glickman, Mark

4 Issues per year

VolumeIssuePage

Was There a Structural Break in Barry Bonds's Bat?

1 / Mark C. Strazicich2 / Stephen Clayton3

1University of North Texas

2Appalachian State University

3Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Citation Information: Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Volume 8, Issue 3, ISSN (Online) 1559-0410, DOI: 10.1515/1559-0410.1305, October 2012

Publication History

Published Online:
2012-10-09

Abstract

In a recent paper, Fair (2008) utilizes monthly data on on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS) to estimate the expected age profile of batting performance in Major League Baseball (MLB) and finds a peak performance at 27.6 years. However, he notes that a small group of 18 players have age-performance profiles that deviate significantly from the expected profile, most notably Barry Bonds. In this paper, we extend the work of Fair (2008) by investigating the time series properties of Bonds’s OPS to test for a deterministic or stochastic trend and to search for structural breaks. While Bonds’s performance is above average, we should not expect that deviations in his age-performance profile from that of the typical batter should contain a deterministic trend. In our investigation, we utilize unit root tests that estimate breaks using monthly data from 1986 to 2007. We find that Bonds’s OPS deviations follow a deterministic trend with two structural breaks. In particular, we find that Bonds’s OPS follows a positive trend to the age of 28.9 (June 1993), which coincides closely with the expected peak performance age. Following this, we find that Bonds’s OPS was on a plateau until a second break in September 2000. At this point, at the age of 36.1, Bonds’s OPS increases unexpectedly and then declines thereafter until his retirement in September 2007 at age 43.

Keywords: age-effects; baseball; OPS; peak performance; structural break

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.