Book description
Baseball Hacks isn't your typical baseball bookit's a book about how to watch, research, and understand baseball. It's an instruction manual for the free baseball databases. It's a cookbook for baseball research. Every part of this book is designed to teach baseball fans how to do something. In short, it's a howto bookone that will increase your enjoyment and knowledge of the game.
So much of the way baseball is played today hinges upon interpreting statistical data. Players are acquired based on their performance in statistical categories that ownership deems most important. Managers make ingame decisions based not on instincts, but on probability  how a particular batter might fare against lefthandedpitching, for instance.
The goal of this unique book is to show fans all the baseballrelated stuff that they can do for free (or close to free). Just as open source projects have made great software freely available, collaborative projects such as Retrosheet and Baseball DataBank have made great data freely available. You can use these data sources to research your favorite players, win your fantasy league, or appreciate the game of baseball even more than you do now.
Baseball Hacks shows how easy it is to get data, process it, and use it to truly understand baseball. The book lists a number of sources for current and historical baseball data, and explains how to load it into a database for analysis. It then introduces several powerful statistical tools for understanding data and forecasting results.
For the uninitiated baseball fan, author Joseph Adler walks readers through the core statistical categories for hitters (batting average, onbase percentage, etc.), pitchers (earned run average, strikeouttowalk ratio, etc.), and fielders (putouts, errors, etc.). He then extrapolates upon these numbers to examine more advanced data groups like career averages, team stats, seasonbyseason comparisons, and more. Whether you're a mathematician, scientist, or seasonticket holder to your favorite team, Baseball Hacks is sure to have something for you.
Advance praise for Baseball Hacks:
"Baseball Hacks is the best book ever written for understanding and practicing baseball analytics. A mustread for baseball professionals and enthusiasts alike."
 Ari Kaplan, database consultant to the Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, and Baltimore Orioles
"The game was born in the 19th century, but the passion for its analysis continues to grow into the 21st. In Baseball Hacks, Joe Adler not only demonstrates thatthe latest datamining technologies have useful application to the study of baseball statistics, he also teaches the reader how to do the analysis himself, arming the dedicated baseball fan with tools to take his understanding of the game to a higher level."
 Mark E. Johnson, Ph.D., Founder, SportMetrika, Inc. and Baseball Analyst for the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals
Table of contents
 Baseball Hacks
 A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
 Credits
 Preface

1. Basics of Baseball
 Hacks 1–7: Introduction
 Score a Baseball Game
 Make a Box Score from a Score Sheet
 Keep Score, Project Scoresheet–Style
 Follow Pitches During a Game
 Follow the Game Online
 Add Baseball Searches to Firefox
 Find Images of Stadiums

2. Baseball Games from Past Years
 Hacks 8–23: Introduction
 Get and Install MySQL
 Get an Access Database of Player and Team Statistics
 Get a MySQL Database of Player and Team Statistics
 Make Your Own Stats Book
 Get Perl
 Learn Perl
 Get Historical PlaybyPlay Data
 Make Box Scores or Database Tables from PlaybyPlay Data with Retrosheet Tools
 Use SQL to Explore Game Data
 Use Microsoft Access to Run SQL Queries
 Get a GUI for MySQL
 Move Data from a Database to Excel
 Load Baseball Data into MySQL
 Load Retrosheet Game Logs
 Make a Historical PlaybyPlay Database
 Use Regular Expressions to Identify Events
 3. Stats from the Current Season

4. Visualize Baseball Statistics
 Hacks 30–39: Introduction
 Plot Histograms in Excel
 Get R and R Packages
 Analyze Baseball with R
 Access Databases Directly from Excel or R
 Load Text Files into R
 Compare Teams and Players with Lattices
 Compare Teams Using Chernoff Faces
 Plot Spray Charts
 Chart Team Stats in Real Time
 Slice and Dice Teams with Cubes

5. Formulas
 Hacks 40–59: Introduction
 Measure Batting with Batting Average
 Measure Batting with OnBase Percentage
 Measure Batting with SLG
 Measure Batting with OPS
 Measure Power with ISO
 Measure Batting with Runs Created
 Measure Batting with Linear Weights
 Measure Pitching with ERA
 Measure Pitching with WHIP
 Measure Pitching with Linear Weights
 Measure Defense with Defensive Efficiency
 Measure Pitching with DIPS
 Measure Base Running Through EqBR
 Measure Fielding with Fielding Percentage
 Measure Fielding with Range Factor
 Measure Fielding with Linear Weights
 Measure Park Effects
 Calculate Fan Save Value
 Calculate Save Value
 Calculate Holds and Decent Holds for Relief Pitchers

6. Sabermetric Thinking
 Hacks 60–71: Introduction
 Calculate Expected Runs
 Calculate an Expected Hits Matrix
 Look for Evidence of Platoon Effects
 Significant Number of At Bats
 Find “Clutch” Players
 Calculate Expected Number of Wins
 Measure Hits by Pitch Count
 OBP, SLG, and Scoring Runs
 Measure Skill Versus Luck
 Odds of the Best Team Winning the World Series

Top 10 Bargain Outfielders
 The Code

Running the Hack
 Identify common attributes.
 Look at correlations.
 Identify possible explanations for correlations.
 Assign attribute scores.
 Group players based on similarity.
 Attach group membership to data set.
 Transform salary variable.
 Create linear regression model.
 Compare predicted versus actual salaries.
 Identify mostunderpaid players.
 Identify mostoverpaid players.
 Hacking the Hack
 Fitting Game Scores to a Strength Model
 7. The Bullpen
 A. Where to Learn More Stuff
 B. Abbreviations
 Index
 About the Author
 Colophon
 Copyright
Product information
 Title: Baseball Hacks
 Author(s):
 Release date: January 2006
 Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
 ISBN: 9780596009427
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