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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baseball Math Ideas

The Math Used in Professional Baseball: More than a Game

It is baseball season again and statistics are flying; how math is used in professional baseball to determine all those number that appear after a player's name. Baseball is more than a game it is game of mathematical numbers used to try and determine how players respond in certain situations. For example a batter's hitting percentage is .344 and a pitcher has an earned run average of 5.13.

So lets take a look at the a batter's hitting percentage. The percentage .344 is based on the number of hits - 55, divided by the number of times at bat - 160. So what does .344 mean to the baseball world? A .344 is very good, because it means that a batter will typically get a hit 1 out of 3 times at bat. Batters with this kind of batting percentage are typically the lead off hitter in a line up.

Teams keep all kinds of statistics on batters, such as: number of times at bat - AB, number of runs scored - R, number of hits - H, number of runs batted in - BI, number of walks - W, number of strike outs - K, and batting average - AVG. These are all used to determine the quality of a batter to be able to hit and score runs.

Math statistics are also kept on the number homeruns divided by the number times at bat; the average times a batter will get a hit in specific situations for example, with 2 outs; how many times a batter will hit to a certain part of the field, for example left field; and how many time a batter gets a hit against specific pitchers. Professional baseball players are analyzed using lots of math to develop a statistical picture of the player as batter.

Let's take a look at the pitcher with an earned run average (ERA) of 5.13. The number is determined by taking the number of earned runs - 4, dividing it by the number of innings pitched - 7, and then multiplying that number by 9. So what does the 5.13 mean for a pitcher? It means he is not a highly recruited pitcher in professional baseball; he gives up too many hits that lead to runs. The pitcher is prone to giving up lots of runs and not winning many games. The lower the earned run average the better the pitcher. Now you may be asking what earned runs are; they are runs scored not the result of any errors by the pitcher's team.

What is some other math numbers used to determine the quality of a pitcher, such as: number of innings pitcher - IP, number of hits given up - H, the number of runs given up - R, the number of walks given up - BB, the number of earned runs given up - ER, and the number of strike outs - SO. These are used to statistically develop an overall view of the pitchers.

Other math numbers include the number of times the pitcher strikes out or gives up hits to certain batters. Along with the number of complete games pitched, pitched all nine innings. And then the coveted number of perfect games pitched; which means the pitcher gave up no walks, no hits, no errors, and no runs were scored by the opposing team.

Then there is the entire math related to the actual dimensions of the professional baseball field. The distance to from one base to another is 90 feet, the pitchers mound is 60 feet from home plate, and the distance from home plate to left field is 342 feet, for example. The number of baseballs used in the average baseball game is about 60, due to foul balls into the stands and homeruns.

Math is used everywhere in professional baseball.


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