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Statistic Profs. Allen And Recck Share Baseball Stats

Besides statistics, Babson colleagues Elaine Allen and George Recck are also intensely serious about baseball.  It was a natural for them to blend the two to look and speculate at the “what ifs” of managing baseball teams.

They spoke at the Babson College/Wellesley Bank Business Series at the Wellesley Chamber’s Networking Before 9 breakfast at Babson this morning.

Recck maintains that the success rate of a baseball team is directly related to their management by numbers know-how.  If Grady Little had studied the stats on Pedro back in ’03, he would have listened to the data instead of Pedro, and changed the course of baseball history.  Statistics also help managers figure out which pitcher has the greatest chance against specific batters.

Allen said it was the Celtics who first started managing by numbers and right now Boston Sports Nation—in Belichick, Francona and Doc Rivers—have three great examples of managers who do so by the numbers.  Technically, Francona is not a numbers guy, but he understands the importance and is a good listener, says Allen.

Other observations when “Managing by the Numbers”:

· As a player’s salary increases, so does his performance, especially in a contract year.  Recck likes to draft players during contract year in Fantasy Baseball.

· Salaries are on the rise again and it is salaries that fuel rising ticket prices. Prestige positions on the team?  First and third bases and designated hitter.  Not so valued?  Surprisingly, second base.

· Analytics on grand slams and home runs….we will see fewer grand slams because sports fans want home runs, and new parks (like the new Yankee Stadium for example) are built to deliver more home runs.   Fewer men on base mean fewer grand slam opportunities. Lou Gehrig, by the way, holds the record for most grand slams.

· A team’s defensive players are undervalued, because many managers do not look at the number of runs they save.

· To determine if teams are getting the best performance for their dollar, Allen and Recck use the On-Base Percentage (OBP) vs. salary (POS) analytic, and found…not really.  The highest OPS is not the highest paid.

·One final fun fact…which is the most hitter-friendly ballpark?  US Cellular, Chicago White Sox.

Contact Elaine Allen:; and George Recck: