By Jordan Schmidt, PhD
Big data is a term that is increasingly embedded in society’s lexicon. It is a concept that describes how the immense amount of data that is routinely collected by organizations is analyzed and transformed into valuable insights. An example of how big data and advanced analytics was introduced to professional baseball was documented in the popular book and subsequent film, Moneyball. Moneyball describes how the 2002 low-budget Oakland A’s used advanced statistics, generally referred to as sabermetrics, to identify financially under-valued players. The Oakland A’s made the 2002 Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs despite having a payroll that was approximately 65% less than the top spending New York Yankees. Moneyball changed baseball management, now every MLB park is equipped with Statcast, a series of high-resolution optical cameras and radar which measures everything from the extension of a pitcher’s arm upon release of the baseball to the maximum speed of any player on the field. This data allows for the analysis of both outcomes (such as homeruns or strikes) and more importantly, why the outcomes occurred.