It is baseball season again and statistics are flying; how math
is used in professional baseball to determine all those number that
appear after a player's name. Baseball is more than a game it is game
of mathematical numbers used to try and determine how players respond
in certain situations. For example a batter's hitting percentage is
.344 and a pitcher has an earned run average of 5.13.
So lets take a look at the a batter's hitting percentage. The percentage
.344 is based on the number of hits - 55, divided by the number of
times at bat - 160. So what does .344 mean to the baseball world?
A .344 is very good, because it means that a batter will typically
get a hit 1 out of 3 times at bat. Batters with this kind of batting
percentage are typically the lead off hitter in a line up.
Teams keep all kinds of statistics on batters, such as: number of
times at bat - AB, number of runs scored - R, number of hits - H,
number of runs batted in - BI, number of walks - W, number of strike
outs - K, and batting average - AVG. These are all used to determine
the quality of a batter to be able to hit and score runs.
Math statistics are also kept on the number homeruns divided by the
number times at bat; the average times a batter will get a hit in
specific situations for example, with 2 outs; how many times a batter
will hit to a certain part of the field, for example left field; and
how many time a batter gets a hit against specific pitchers. Professional
baseball players are analyzed using lots of math to develop a statistical
picture of the player as batter.
Let's take a look at the pitcher with an earned run average (ERA)
of 5.13. The number is determined by taking the number of earned runs
- 4, dividing it by the number of innings pitched - 7, and then multiplying
that number by 9. So what does the 5.13 mean for a pitcher? It means
he is not a highly recruited pitcher in professional baseball; he
gives up too many hits that lead to runs. The pitcher is prone to
giving up lots of runs and not winning many games. The lower the earned
run average the better the pitcher. Now you may be asking what earned
runs are; they are runs scored not the result of any errors by the
What is some other math numbers used to determine the quality of
a pitcher, such as: number of innings pitcher - IP, number of hits
given up - H, the number of runs given up - R, the number of walks
given up - BB, the number of earned runs given up - ER, and the number
of strike outs - SO. These are used to statistically develop an overall
view of the pitchers.
Other math numbers include the number of times the pitcher strikes
out or gives up hits to certain batters. Along with the number of
complete games pitched, pitched all nine innings. And then the coveted
number of perfect games pitched; which means the pitcher gave up no
walks, no hits, no errors, and no runs were scored by the opposing
Then there is the entire math related to the actual dimensions of
the professional baseball field. The distance to from one base to
another is 90 feet, the pitchers mound is 60 feet from home plate,
and the distance from home plate to left field is 342 feet, for example.
The number of baseballs used in the average baseball game is about
60, due to foul balls into the stands and homeruns.
Math is used everywhere in professional baseball.