Baseball is much different than it was 20 years ago. Advanced analytics have changed dramatically, and are now done by sophisticated computer systems.
Changing the Game With Analytics
Stats have always been used, just not on a sophisticated computer system. But what hasn’t been used is analytics. These numbers make up a major part of how a baseball game is played. Shifts are used in almost every baseball game, thanks to projections from this modern-day system. This can tell us where to play Aaron Judge in the field. They also tell us if Jeff McNeil should steal a base with J.T Realmuto at the plate.
With this said, analytics obviously can prevent bad things from happening, as good things from happening. Whether it’s changing a triple to a double or changing a loss to a win, many teams depend on analytics. Some teams rely heavily on analytics like the Yankees and Dodgers. But, then you have teams like the Nationals that rely less on the numbers. The rather correct way to use analytics is as a guide. But, some teams use the numbers as a gameplan. But how can this approach ruin the game of baseball?
Two Destructive Examples
One prime example is what the Yankees used in Game Two of the 2020 American League Division Series. Youngster Deivi Garcia started the game for New York. He gave up one run in the first inning on a home run from Randy Arozarena. Normally, you don’t take out a pitcher after one inning unless he’s injured. The Yankees yanked Garcia after the first inning. It was not because he gave up that lone run but they had a plan in place. The team devised a plan.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Yankees brought in J.A. Happ to replace Garcia. That experiment didn’t go too well. Happ gave up four runs in just 2.2 innings. The Yankees had to go to their bullpen earlier than they could’ve afforded to. New York exhausted their bullpen and cost the team the game and the series. It appeared Yankee manager Aaron Boone was the final person to sign off on the plan.
Another good example is Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell in the World Series. Snell threw 73 pitches in just 5.1 innings. That’s a very good pitch count for the number of innings he pitched. Ultimately, this decision cost the Rays the game and the series.
There are few managers today, that make decisions based on their gut feeling. Instead, they look at numbers and projections, a big part of what analytics are. Front offices also become ruled by these helpful numbers.
On the other hand, analytics have helped the game of baseball. Star free agent Trevor Bauer, lives on these crucial numbers. Bauer has a data-driven focus, and no one is going to stop him. Bauer wouldn’t have even been a Cy-Young winner without analytics. Not just teams but players study these numbers to gain success.
Say what you want about analytics but they are a key part of baseball and control a team’s success or failure. Analytics control a team’s gameplan and how they approach the plate. These numbers also control if a player hits 40 home runs, versus only 10. These projections, stats, and numbers are also a perfect way of learning baseball as well, both from a player and fan’s perspective.