Big Data Baseball

  • by Travis Sawchik
  • Narrated by Peter Larkin
  • 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was old school and stubborn. But after 20 straight losing seasons and his job on the line, he was ready to try anything. So when he met with GM Neal Huntington in October 2012, they decided to discard everything they knew about the game and instead take on drastic "big data" strategies.
Going well beyond the number-crunching of Moneyball, which used statistics found on the back of baseball cards to identify market inefficiencies, the data the Pirates employed was not easily observable. They collected millions of data points on pitches and balls in play, creating a tome of reports that revealed key insights for how to win more games without spending a dime. They discovered that most batters struggled to hit two-seam fastballs, that an aggressive defensive shift on the field could turn more batted balls into outs, and that a catcher's most valuable skill was hidden. Hurdle and Huntington got to work trying to convince the entire Pirates organization and disgruntled fans to embrace these unconventional yet groundbreaking methods. All this led to the end of the longest consecutive run of losing seasons in North American pro sports history.
The Pirates' 2013 season is the perfect lens for examining baseball's burgeoning big-data movement. Using flawless reporting, award-winning journalist Travis Sawchik takes you behind the scenes to reveal a game-changing audiobook of miracles and math.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Science of Baseball Choices

This is perhaps Moneyball 2.0 or Baseball Analytics Updated. Whereas Michael Lewis's 2002 bestseller focused on the offensive side of baseball this one focuses on defense. It includes the esoteric facets of the game like zone ratings, extreme shifts and pitch framing. Sawchik isn't as talented a writer as Lewis and I doubt that a movie based on this book starring Brad Pitt is likely in the future it's still a good read/ listen.
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- Me & My Girls

Great Book, Not a Great Read

Would you consider the audio edition of Big Data Baseball to be better than the print version?

No, because the reader mispronounced most of the names in the book. This was jarring repeatedly.

What did you like best about this story?

Sawchik's way of teasing out the story, jumping from one puzzle piece to another.

Would you be willing to try another one of Peter Larkin’s performances?

Yes, his voice was pleasant and his reading was solid, aside from the mispronounced names.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


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- Brandon Woosley

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-19-2015
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio