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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Optimizing the Swing, Part Deux: Paying Homage to Teddy Ballgame – The Hardball Times

So what’s a poor batter to do. It depends on what the batter is trying to do. If getting on base is the primary goal, then swinging level would appear to the best strategy. You’ll still hit a lot of home runs if the bat speed is high and the aim is good. Indeed that is exactly the approach advocated by Ted Williams, as written in his classic book The Science of Hitting. Someone who hit 521 career home run with a 0.482 lifetime on-base percentage must surely know whereof he speaks.

But to get the highest home run probability requires swinging with a larger attack angle, keeping in mind that you will fail often if the swing is mis-timed. A possible compromise is to pick some intermediate attack angle. For example, an attack angle of 120 reduces the home run probability by about 35 percent but also reduces the four-inch timing error to be about 0.4 inches. Moreover, such an attack angle is actually “level” for a typical curveball, which has a larger descent angle than a fastball.

There may well be other possible strategies, but my goal in this article is not to analyze these in detail. Rather, it is to set up a framework for doing such an analysis. While the development of the framework is still a work in progress, hopefully some useful initial steps have been taken.

It worked for Egghead Jr.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 24, 2015 at 11:39 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hitting, physics

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Physics of Wind at the Remodeled Wrigley Field – The Hardball Times

Science!

In summary, the winds within Wrigley are far too fickle to address the question of changes in wind pattern due to the remodel. We can get an estimate of the effect of the left field video board from our knowledge of the aerodynamics of the flight of a baseball making the unrealistic assumption that the new board completely blocks the wind.

The maximum effect is about a 10 foot change in home run distance for winds directed in from or out to left field. It will be less for other wind directions. In addition, the reduced wind will lower the distance variation due to changes in the wind direction. It will be interesting to see if over the next couple of years sabermetricians can detect any remodel effect in their park factors.

So, I apologize to both Henry and Jon. I don’t have a definitive answer. This is the best I can do. After all, I am just a physics professor.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 16, 2015 at 06:55 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: ballparks, physics

 

 

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