An Estimate of How Hitting, Pitching, Fielding, and Basestealing Impact Team Winning Percentages in Baseball

Charles Pavitt 1
  • 1 University of Delaware

Past research attempting estimates of the relative impact of hitting, pitching, fielding, and basestealing on team winning percentage in baseball has been marked by a number of problems, mostly in terms of poor choice of performance measures. The current analysis attempts to perform this task using readily available measures for the years 1951 through 1998. The analysis method is based on a conceptual decomposition of offense and defense into its component parts and then recombinations of the parts in intuitively meaningful ways. The findings imply that offense and defense have about the same impact on team performance than defense, the former is based almost totally on hitting, and the latter divided about equally between pitching and fielding. Division of the sample into time periods with low, medium, and high levels of offense did not substantially change these conclusions.

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JQAS, an official journal of the American Statistical Association, publishes research on the quantitative aspects of professional and collegiate sports. Articles deal with subjects as measurements of player performance, tournament structure, and the frequency and occurrence of records. Additionally, the journal serves as an outlet for professionals in the sports world to raise issues and ask questions that relate to quantitative sports analysis.