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Jake B. ‘17 — Rating MLB Pitchers

The Project: Created a clutch rating for Major League baseball pitchers.

Process: Studied books on baseball statistics, explored online baseball sites (including Nick Silver’s fivethirtyeight), then created his rating system based on a two-part statistical analysis: the first part has to do with performance in 24 difficult situations—e.g.: how many players on base. The second part is about the context of the game: run differentials, the inning. He looked at three pitchers from the 1999 season—Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (Red Sox) and LaTroy Hawkins (Twins). “My approach is different from other rating systems out there in that I used congregate numbers and weight situations.”

What I Learned: “I was hoping to find something that contradicted popular belief about each of the pitchers. I was a little disappointed that my results were consistent with common belief. But everything is meaningful, even if it’s just reconfirming what is already thought to be true. It can’t project outcomes; it's about past performance. Where it holds the most value is in conversations among fans; it is a new, fascinating angle.”

Value of JW: “Nothing else has given us the kind of time and flexibility that allows students to follow their passion in a more formal environment. I’m definitely more confident now in my ability and knowledge of statistics. And what’s really great about Junior Workshop is that it allows students to gain knowledge and talents in areas that wouldn’t be traditionally taught.”

Other Thoughts? “The Cubs will win the World Series.”