The Importance of Hitting Efficiency

by Daniel Sheinson

Abstract

There is perhaps no sport that lends itself better to the practice of statistics than baseball. However, one statistic about the game that I don’t think is analyzed enough is the one that stares me in the face between every half inning of watching a ball game on TV. When I see the runs-hits-errors totals on the screen while watching my beloved Cubbies, I often experience an uncomfortable feeling when I see the Cubs with many hits but few runs to show for it. This leads me to wonder how important the ratio of runs to hits really is to the success of a team. Intuitively, a higher runs to hits ratio may indicate a team that hits well for power. However, it may also indicate a team that manufactures runs well by playing small ball, i.e. drawing walks, stealing bases, utilizing the sacrifice, and ultimately doing whatever it takes to move runners around the diamond. Teams that hit well with runners in scoring position will also have a higher runs per hit, and teams that leave lots of runners on base should have a lower runs per hit. My work involves analyzing the effect of the runs per hit ratio on how much a team wins. I will look for trends both within particular seasons and over the course of baseball history.

Bio

Daniel M. Sheinson is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His primary field of study is statistics, and he has been involved with statistical consulting in Champaign, IL. He also has a secondary major in history and a minor in computer science.

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