Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MLB Productivity Analysis: 1901-2013

In the spirit of the MLB Postseason being underway, I thought it would be interesting to do a viz looking at MLB Player Productivity from 1901 - 2013. This viz looks at productivity in terms of getting Rbis (runs batted in). The more runs a batter brings in, the better chance their team has at winning a game. I looked at player productivity in a couple of different ways: how hits correlate with Rbis and how homeruns correlate with Rbis. It was interesting to find out that neither getting the most hits or getting the most homeruns means that you are more productive than other players. For example, in 2004 Ichiro Suzuki set the single season record for the most hits in a season with 264 and he only had 60 Rbis. This is most likely because he was the lead-off batter for the Mariners that year. Also, in 2001, Barry Bonds set the single season record for the most homeruns with 73 and had 137 Rbis that same season. That means most of his homeruns were likely solo shots. I found that the best measure for player productivity is batting average. The players with the higher batting averages tend to generate more Rbis than the power hitters.

 I also looked at how the American League compares to the National League in terms of total Rbis as well as batting average. Historically, the American League players tend to generate more Rbis than National League players. If you look at the average player batting average for each season, both leagues tend to be pretty close. The most interesting thing that I found was how batting averages correlate with strike out percentages. It seems that pitchers are getting better and better as time goes on. Since 2008, on average, players are striking out more that they are hitting the ball! This could really hurt batters in terms of productivity.

Take a look for yourself... I found this project to be pretty interesting...

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