Baseball has come a long way since its inception in the mid-19th century. While the game has always been centered on numbers, it wasn't until the latter half of the 20th century that advanced statistics and metrics began to be used by teams and analysts to gain a competitive edge.
One of the most influential figures in the development of advanced analytics in baseball is Bill James. James, a former night watchman and factory worker, began publishing his own baseball analysis in the 1970s. However, he was initially turned away by General Managers, Coaches, and Scouts when he first approached them with his approach to the game. Nevertheless, James persevered, and his work eventually gained recognition and respect in the baseball world. He was eventually hired by the Boston Red Sox in 2002 as a senior advisor, and two years later, the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series in 86 years.
Since then, advanced statistics and metrics have become an integral part of the game. One of the most significant technological advancements in this area has been the implementation of Statcast. Statcast is a high-speed camera system that tracks the movements of the ball and players on the field. This technology has made certain statistics like batting average seem less important than metrics like hard-hit ball percentage and batted ball exit velocity. In addition to the traditional statistics like runs, hits, and errors, advanced metrics like Wins Above Replacement (WAR) have become a standard for measuring a player's overall value. Launch Angle and Spin Rate are two of the newest advanced metrics frequently being refernced. Launch Angle measures the vertical angle at which a ball leaves a player's bat, while Spin Rate measures the rate of spin on a pitch. These metrics have become important tools for evaluating hitters and pitchers, respectively.
But advanced analytics in baseball are not just for teams and analysts. Fans can also access these numbers to gain a deeper understanding of the game and the players they root for. There are several websites that provide in-depth analysis and advanced statistics. Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs Baseball are two popular sites that offer detailed player stats and advanced metrics like WAR, wOBA, and FIP. Baseball-Almanac is another useful resource that offers a wide range of statistics and historical data. For those interested in raw play-by-play data, RetroSheet provides a comprehensive database of game logs and play-by-play data going back decades.
In addition to these websites, there are also several podcasts and personalities that cover advanced statistics and metrics. One such example is JomBoy Media, a popular YouTube channel and podcast network that covers baseball in a unique way. JomBoy often highlights advanced statistics and metrics in his breakdowns of games and players. Other popular podcasts include Effectively Wild and The Ringer MLB Show, which both cover baseball in-depth and often discuss advanced analytics. At Jax Batting Gloves, we’re fans of these sites, databases, personalities, and podcasts that contribute to growing the game.
Overall, advanced statistics and metrics have revolutionized the way baseball is played and analyzed. And with resources like Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs Baseball, Baseball-Almanac, RetroSheet, and popular personalities like JomBoy, fans can join in on the fun and gain a deeper appreciation for the game