Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Great way to learn how to utilize R with sports data
on January 26, 2014
I'm admit am not really into baseball analytics. However, I have been slowly getting into analytics for other sports, and really wanted to start using R to explore my data. I am pretty new to R, so I had no idea what to do with 200+ variables had collected in excel, in Rstudio. So I turned to texts and other books but struggled. A majority of the time the books I read used business data etc for examples which didn't really help me personally, grasp how I could replicate the same commands using my sports data. Trying to find a book that has programing and sports in it is like finding a needle in a haystack. This book was the only book that came up in search results when I entered sports + analytics. When I stumbled upon it, despite it being about baseball, I bought it immediately after I recognized Jim Alberts name (from JQAS), and I am so glad I did. For those sports data lovers out there who want to understand how to use R to analyze your datasets rejoice! because this is only book you will probably need!!!!
Prior to using this book had no programming background except a few seminars on python and since then have self taught myself further with code academy etc. As for R, I have been to 2 "intro" free seminars, and admit I only grasped the fundamentals of commands in the R console because the commands follow very similar structure those in a python terminal. However, in terms of R as it applies to sports, how and what commands I enter/use to answer various questions about my data I had trouble grasping without any examples to help me, a visual learner, learn from. Prior to this book no other book I've come across has provided examples with R being applied to sports. Thus this book has been a godsend. This book walks you though every command you'd use in Rstudio along with an example below it. From simple to more complex, everything function, variable, command, has an example which has helped me visualize and finally bridge the gap between the commands explained and how they are applied to the SPORTS data you have. Additionally, whats also nice is you use baseball data you can get online for free.
For me this has been the biggest help EVER . Especially if you want to use R for sports. Even if it's not baseball I would still highly recommend this book because once you get the concepts of the commands applied with baseball data, its pretty easy thereafter to play around with the same commands and packages using other sports data. I am still toying around with what I have learned in relation to other sports concepts, since pitch speed, strike effects etc unfortunately are specific to baseball. However, exploring variables for other sports datasets is so much easier now, all thanks to this book. I do hope they think about doing a a series of these books for other sports, since I am sure many other sports fans would benefit from it, including myself.
Additionally I liked how at the end of every chapter it gave the reader "further reading" suggestions, as well as great exercises to try. My only issue is there are no answers to the exercises in the book. Maybe I missed where in the book it mentioned you can find the answers, but as far as I understand, there is no answers provided to the exercise, which would have been nice. Hence why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I would have like to see them go through the answers, command line by command line as its entered into the console for each exercise. I hope (HINT HINT!!!!!) they will soon post this info online or something, that would be nice. Otherwise I could not be more pleased with this book!