Statistical analysis debunks the old adage 'Pitching is 75 percent of the game'

September 29, 2011
Baseball is America's pastime. Credit: Image courtesy of Evan Krape, University of Delaware

Baseball legend Connie Mack famously said pitching is 75 percent of the game. He was wrong -- a new analysis by a University of Delaware professor finds it's just 25 percent.

This October, the Journal of in will feature the article: An Estimate of How Hitting, Pitching, Fielding, and Base-stealing Impact Team Winning Percentages in Baseball. In it, University of Delaware Professor Charles (Charlie) Pavitt defines the perfect "formula" for MLB teams to use to build the ultimate .

Pavitt found hitting accounts for more than 45% of teams' winning records, fielding for 25% and pitching for 25%. And, the impact of stolen bases is greatly overestimated.

He crunched hitting, pitching, fielding and base-stealing records for every MLB team over a 48-year period from 1951-1998 with a method no other researcher has used in this area. In statistical parlance, he used a conceptual decomposition of offense and defense into its component parts and then analyzed recombinations of the parts in intuitively meaningful ways.

He also found something many MLB teams don't know: the ability to steal bases is just not that important to the overall winning record of a professional baseball team.

As major league baseball's playoffs kick off and "Moneyball" plays in movie theatres nationwide, Pavitt is available for interviews.

Explore further: Study finds pitching mound height affects throwing motion, injury risk

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not rated yet Sep 29, 2011
The results may be of interest to those teams who have bad pitching but if you ask the Giants they will beg to differ. True, this year they did not make the playoffs but their success was much more than 50% the product of their pitching. In this instance Sports does not imitate life!
not rated yet Sep 29, 2011
Baseball - Better than cricket - but still very boring.
not rated yet Sep 30, 2011
This is silly. Of course your team's hitting record will be better if the other team's pitcher can't prevent those hits. And the fielding stat depends entirely on the batting stat. These statistics are so closely related that it's just nonsensical to compare them.
not rated yet Oct 02, 2011
Doesn't debunk anything. Since Connie Mack's day the mound has been lowered and the baseball changed to make MLB more of a hitter's game. Ball park designs have done the same thing. I watched games at (originally Shibe Park) Connie Mack Stadium. There is a picture at http://en.wikiped...ibe_Park Compared to today's parks the catcher and first and third basemen had room to work on popped up foul balls. So batters had to try to keep the ball down (and their swing high). The distances to the outfield (except at the corners) made outfielders work for a living--but there were not all that many home runs. (Well I remember several inside the park home runs, but mostly from the radio or later TV.)

It used to be a game of careful strategy, perfect for a slow summer day. Remember when pitchers had catchers they worked with? Referred to as the battery, and a pitching change often meant that the catcher was changed too. But I guess owners wanted more fireworks. :-(
not rated yet Oct 03, 2011
And what about tuning? I heard, harpists spend ninety percent of their lives tuning.

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