The book The Baseball Economist by J.C. Bradbury takes America’s pastime and mixes together with both economics and statistical analysis. Baseball, in general, is more of a statistical game than most other sports. This is not to say that the whole book is full of numbers. Bradbury asks many different questions through each chapter, as each could be completely separate from the others. He asks questions like why are there no left handed catchers to is pitching coach Leo Mazzone that good?
Each chapter makes the reader think of baseball very differently. Bradbury even tackles the tough spot of steriods and baseball and makes a very good argument on why we shouldn’t care. His strongest argument is that many times players use other techniques that are artificial to increase their strength. One example is the Tommy John Surgery that pitchers go under when they get injuried. These pitchers usually come back throwing even harder than they did before.
Another strong point in the book is Bradbury’s analysis of what is the best statistisic is telling how well a player will do. Baseball is both an individual sport and a team sport and it is very hard to isolate the two as each can influence each others stats. For example, pitchers could have low earned run averages because of good defensive players on his team. I have always wondered why people were more concerned with certain states over others.
The negatives of this book is that some of the stuff is dated. Bradbury is writting this book after it seemed 99 times out of 100 the rich team wins, while more recently it seems that this has changed some. The other negative is the book doesn’t do much for people who are not deep into baseball. Personally, I love baseball and I would study it if I could. Many people who were looking for more broad strokes may not quite enjoy the book as others. Possible topics they could have been looking for would be like why are concessions so expensive or how much does homefield advantage help?
Overall this is a great read for anyone who loves statistics or who loves baseball and economic.