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The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball
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The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  794 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Written by three esteemed baseball statisticians, The Book continues where the legendary Bill James' Baseball Abstracts and Palmer and Thorn's The Hidden Game of Baseball left off more than twenty years ago. Continuing in the grand tradition of sabermetrics, the authors provide a revolutionary way to think about baseball with principles that can be applied at every level, ...more
Paperback, 385 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Potomac Books (first published March 10th 2007)
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John Lee
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: english
Despite (or because of) all the hype about this book, I came away slightly disappointed. The baseball analysis is definitely good, and seems relatively sound, but there just wasn't enough math. This book is theoretically supposed to be a primer of advanced baseball strategies and statistics, but it is heavy on the strategies and very light on the statistics. Of course, there is a lot of data that is thrown around, but for the most part, the procedures used to generate the odds are explained exac ...more
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sabermetrics lovers
as a baseball guy and a math guy, this book was GLORIOUS! The appendix of mathematical techniques used, and some descriptions why, truly puts Tom Tango in a class of his own. The stats were used well and when stats were unavailable he used simulations. And the piece de la resistance: Game Theory at the end of the book! He took into account bluffing, strategy, and how they affect the usefulness of various techniques. I could literally not ask for much more.

As a clarifier to the book, this book ex
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Who wouldn't want to read complex statistical equations followed by charts and graphs of different run expectancies and win expectancies that tell you exactly how every pitch in baseball should play out, then followed up with a game theory analysis of the game to show why you need to vary how every pitch in baseball should play out even from what SHOULD be correct?
Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Bunting is almost always bad (other than from a game theory standpoint). As is stealing.
Bob Gustafson
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have some mathematical acumen and I'm a baseball fan, so based on reviews of this book, it had five stars before I open the cover. ("Open the cover" is a figure of speech. I bought the Kindle edition.)

The first chapter is an introduction and a definition of terms section. Fine. Analysis begins in chapter two. The text reads like an article from Nature or Science magazines with technical jargon in every sentence. The text is full of tables necessary to make points and are very good. Sadly, thei
Michael Bradburn
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for anyone who wants to learn the basics of sabermetrics and the direction of public baseball data analysis.
Kevin Lanzone
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Not a FUN read, but any baseball stat junky is going to enjoy it. And if you coach baseball at any level, you might get a lot out of this for your team!
Craig Werner
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
For Sabremetric aficionados only. The collaborators are statisticians in the Bill James mold and they do their work well. Usually, that makes for deadening reading--I'll admit to glazing over the tables increasingly in the second half of the book. Most of the take-home messages are predictable for those who follow the field. 1) Most of the sportscaster wisdom about the relationship between hot streaks and past match-ups and future performance is simply illusion. The only real indicator of future ...more
Steven Peterson
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the common phrases that we hear in baseball is that a manager was playing by “the book.” That is, the manager was doing what the unwritten rules of baseball suggest. One example at the outset illustrates: walking a batter intentionally with first base open. This book, in essence, rewrites the book.

The authors use a detailed data base (including each at bat over a period of years) and then do a statistical analysis of results. And, they argue, the unwritten book is often wrong. The first c
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty dry and dense, but fascinating if you are into baseball stats and sabermetrics.
For those who can make it through, the reward is a deeper understanding of the game and a more satisfying spectating experience.

The book tackled some great questions I had as a baseball fan - like the best situations for the steal and the bunt, how well batter/pitcher history predicts future face-offs, how real/useful hot/cold streaks are, how to optimize batting lineup and how much affect it has on wins, quant
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