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Friday, August 04, 2006

Sabermetric Research: Birnbaum: Can we measure player improvement over the decades?

Or would Johnny Weekly just remain so?

Conventional wisdom is that baseball players are getting better and better over the decades. How can we know if that’s true? We can’t go by hitting stats, because the pitchers are improving just as much as the batters. We can’t go by pitching stats, either, because the batters are improving just as much as the pitchers. It could be that players have improved so much that if Babe Ruth came back today, he’d only hit like, say, Tino Martinez, or maybe Raul Mondesi. But can we prove that?

Repoz Posted: August 04, 2006 at 12:49 AM | 236 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   201. Chris Dial Posted: August 09, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2132726)
If you look at people that did ATSM tests, non of the balls were at the extreme end of the COR specification.

The range is 0.514 to 0.578. The mid-point is 0.546. The balls they tested were .548-.552. That isn't extreme. However, the CORs obsaerved on the trips to the facilities were:
"During the visit [Costa Rica], COR’s were observed in the 0.560 to 0.565 range." and "The visitors observed COR testing of 2 balls during the trip [Missouri]. The COR values of the two balls were 0.575 and 0.574. Both of these values fall below the MLB maximum of 0.578."

THose balls get shipped out to MLB. At the bottom of the report, they list the theoreticals. I plotted them, and got this (assuming a wt of 5.11 oz):
y = 632.4669x + 51.65229

Is it supposed to be linear? I don't know. I then calculated the expected distances from their hitting machine using the stated/tested CORs:
1999 Ball, COR = 0.552 Formula distance = 400.4774 ft. Measured distance 400.0 ft
2000 Ball, COR = 0.548 Formula distance = 398.2442 ft. Measured distance 398.6 ft
2000M Ball, COR = 0.535 Formula distance = 390.0221 ft. Measured distance 391.8 ft

Now, we haven't really tested what the COR was for balls from 1977 to 1992 *at all*. If the average COR was 0.529, then balls are only going 385 feet. 15 lost feet is an out versus a home run, just from balls that weren't even high. Looking at the numbers from the Missouri plant, those balls would travel 15 feet further than the ones URI tested.

Is it really a big conspiracy to suggest that Rawlings does this:
Balls testing above average are sent to MLB; balls below are sent to MiLB.

I don't think so - they are all in spec. And until we locate some COR data from 1992 that says those balls were typically .550, it is a remarkably simple explanation that the original balls were closer to .530 than .550 in production, and that would explain a clear jump in offense.
   202. Chris Dial Posted: August 09, 2006 at 02:57 AM (#2132735)
BL,
I don't think your 530 makes much sense to me.
   203. Backlasher Posted: August 09, 2006 at 03:28 AM (#2132865)
I don't think so - they are all in spec. And until we locate some COR data from 1992 that says those balls were typically .550, it is a remarkably simple explanation that the original balls were closer to .530 than .550 in production, and that would explain a clear jump in offense

Ask Rawlins, they did test the balls. And i would doubt a production run from a year doesn't have balls that vary throughout the specification. That is why the specification is a range.

BL,
I don't think your 530 makes much sense to me.


I have no idea what you are talking about. I have never alleged that a COR of .530 existed for any ball.
   204. Chris Dial Posted: August 09, 2006 at 11:38 AM (#2133118)
Er, post 230. My bad.
   205. Chris Dial Posted: August 09, 2006 at 11:46 AM (#2133120)
And i would doubt a production run from a year doesn't have balls that vary throughout the specification. That is why the specification is a range.

Interestingly, the 200 balls in your above test didn't show that much variance. Didn't you mention that in a previous post? UMass-Lowell was commissioned to perform a test on balls from 1998, 1999, and 2000 to see if there were any significant differences in the COR or other ball parameters. They found there were no significant differences.

That seems to say that production didn't see any variance. According to the distances, and my math, the CORs were tight. Didn't they even post teh range in that article?

The production range has probably been set for a long time, when things were done manually more and materials were much more variable themselves.

For instance, the content uniformity for tablet manufacture according to the USP/FDA is 85% to 115%. They was an issue when that reg was set. However, today's procedures run much closer to 95-105%. And usually very narrow bands, with few outliers.

I think the spec range was set at a time when that was needed. That probably hasn't been necessary for decades.

As for "Ask Rawlings", I'd like to, but I don't have any pull there.
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