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Analyzing Baseball Data with R (Chapman & Hall/CRC The R Series)

23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1466570221
ISBN-10: 1466570229
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Editorial Reviews


"The authors present a potpourri of well-conceived case-studies that give insight into both the game’s complexity and R’s simplicity. Virtually no previous knowledge of statistical theory and software is required to master the data analyses and to follow the explications in this book … The authors’ style of writing is pleasurable and bespeaks their passion for the game. Narratives and R commands are so smoothly intermingled that the source code hardly disturbs the flow of reading, and a wealth of graphs break up the grey. … A great asset of the book is that it encourages the reader to learn the ropes of sabermetrics by actually running the example analyses on one’s own computer."
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 2015

"If you are interested in statistics, especially baseball statistics, you will find this book fascinating and very useful. It provides many details. websites, and useful descriptions for using the R programming environment. This is not only a book on statistics; there are many references to famous player statistics, making this a very enjoyable book to read. And even if you don’t like baseball but still find statistics very exciting, then this book provides a great introduction to R that can be used for any other type of statistical data set."
IEEE Insulation Magazine, November/December 2014

"I have spent most of the past decade working in baseball as a statistical analyst for the New York Mets. … This type of employment can be highly valued, especially among quantitatively inclined college students who are coincidentally passionate baseball fans. It is from these students from whom I am most frequently asked, ‘what book would you recommend for someone who wants to get started in sabermetrics?’ Invariably, my response has been [Jim Albert and Jay Bennett’s] Curve Ball. I have a new response. …
I always felt that Curve Ball was the best place for a budding sabermetrician to start … However, it later dawned on me that while Curve Ball provided a sound framework for thinking probabilistically about baseball, I devoted a huge proportion of my time at work to computer programming. …
In their new book, Albert and Max Marchi, a native Italian who now works for the Cleveland Indians, have closed the loop by offering the aspiring sabermetrician a blueprint. … The reader who digests this book alongside her keyboard will emerge as a practicing sabermetrician―having knowledge of the key ideas in sabermetric theory, a historical understanding of from whence those ideas came, and the practical ability to compute with baseball data. It is a sabermetric workshop in paperback."
―Ben S. Baumer, International Statistical Review (2014), 82

About the Author

Max Marchi is a baseball analyst with the Cleveland Indians. He was previously a statistician at the Emilia-Romagna Regional Health Agency. He has been a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and Baseball Prospectus websites and has consulted for MLB clubs.

Jim Albert is a professor of statistics at Bowling Green State University. He has authored or coauthored several books and is the editor of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis of Sports. His interests include Bayesian modeling, statistics education, and the application of statistical thinking in sports.


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Product Details

  • Series: Chapman & Hall/CRC The R Series (Book 14)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chapman and Hall/CRC (October 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466570229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466570221
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By JULIEK on January 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Mills on November 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This will be essential reading for those looking to learn R as it specifically relates to baseball analytics. The book explores various datasets, explains with clarity how they are designed, and discusses how they can be utilized to do baseball specific analytics. Easily the most comprehensive resource available for the aspiring baseball analyst as it compiles much of the work previously located in hidden corners of the blogosphere into one easily understandable and accessible book. A must buy.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A relatively fun way to learn the database manager/statistical software "R." the authors take the novel approach of teaching the language within the context of baseball statistics. Become a sabermetrician and become the envy of your neighborhood!

Those who favor the "learning R" aspect will be reawarded more than baseball aficionados. The latter will be satisfied with some of the fairly arcane learning examples (how well did Warren Spahn pitch in the post-war era; what are the relatively trajectories by age of the home run totals of Bonds, Ruth, and Aaron; predicting post-season performace with Markov chain probabilities-we'll have to try that with the 2014 Giants sometime), but the focus is on learning R, not learning baseball lore. For example, the baseball problems don't containa lot of context: Bonds' probably steroid use is not mentioned; it's irrelevant to the main topic.

"R" is not an intuitive language. though moreso than SQL. In my experience it is increasingly used as either a first-line or adjunctive statistical programming language alongside the most popular (social science) packages: SAS, SPSS, Mplus, and, for database construction, SQL (which is also part of SAS using Proc SQL). It uses elements of SAS /SPSS with a few of the more manageable conocepts from SQL (NO, I'm not a fan of SQL, but then, I came rather late to it.).

While certainly not a "Book for Dummies" (and really, must beginners put up with that...), some experience with databases will bevery helpful. You'll also get more out of the book with some statistical knowledge, but that's not necesary.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sibelius on November 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First thing first - if you have little knowledge/interest in baseball but are considering picking this book up to learn 'R' my advice is to skip this book and find another source. Getting the most out of this volume requires a deep knowledge of the game in order to fully understand the context of the exercises and the way that subtle, almost imperceptible variations in said data will make all the difference in validating a particular hypothesis. For baseball stat junkies looking to take their analysis to the next level (beyond Excel at least) this is a very well laid out and presented guide that showcases the power of 'R' through the infusion of rich and readily available sources of preexisting historical data.

The book starts off with helpful chapters on the installation of 'R' and plugging data sets into the system. Later chapters then take on a practical approach to demonstrate the utilization of 'R' in tackling some of the more common Sabermetric patterns including streaky behaviors and run expectancies. Closing chapters take on more technical complexity as the exercises add additional layers of data and software to the 'R' package (the chapter on incorporating MySQL was of particular interest). All in all a good no fuss, practical guide on the utilization of 'R' to further grind your baseball metrics down to the nitty gritty.
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