University of Delaware
Pitching is 25 percent -- not 75 percent -- of the game, according to a statistical analysis by UD's Charles Pavitt.

Baseball's winning formula

Statistical analysis used to debunk the old adage 'pitching is 75 percent of game'

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1:17 p.m., Oct. 3, 2011--Baseball legend Connie Mack famously said pitching is 75 percent of the game.  He was wrong – a new analysis by a University of Delaware professor finds it’s just 25 percent.

This month, the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports will feature the article "An Estimate of How Hitting, Pitching, Fielding, and Base-stealing Impact Team Winning Percentages in Baseball."  In it, University of Delaware Prof. Charles Pavitt of the Department of Communication defines the perfect “formula” for Major League Baseball (MLB) teams to use to build the ultimate winning team.

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Pavitt found hitting accounts for more than 45 percent of teams’ winning records, fielding for 25 percent and pitching for 25 percent. And that the impact of stolen bases is greatly overestimated.

He crunched hitting, pitching, fielding and base-stealing records for every MLB team over a 48-year period from 1951-1998 with a method no other researcher has used in this area. In statistical parlance, he used a conceptual decomposition of offense and defense into its component parts and then analyzed recombinations of the parts in intuitively meaningful ways.

He also found something many MLB teams don’t know: the ability to steal bases is just not that important to the overall winning record of a professional baseball team. 

Article by Andrea Boyle Tippett

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