Petti: The value of (in)consistent play in Major League Baseball

From SABR member Bill Petti at The Hardball Times on August 26, 2014:

In my last article on the topic of team consistency and whether that matters for overall performance, I summarized much of the work that has been done over the years. I won’t recreate that summary here—readers can follow the link to read the summary in its entirety. However, the short of it is that something approaching a consensus began to form, which held that, all else equal, it was better to have consistent run production and inconsistent run prevention. My initial findings ran somewhat counter to that, but that was using a metric to measure consistency I knew was likely a little rough.

This past March, I was lucky enough to be asked to present some research at the annual SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. During my presentation of pitcher volatility (slides and video can be found here), current Boston Red Sox Baseball Operations Analyst Greg Rybarczyk (also known as the founder of Hit Tracker) asked me a very important question.

The gist of it was whether I knew for sure that higher or lower consistency was, in fact, better for teams, and whether that differed depending on whether a team had a great offense or a poor offense, or allowed tons or very few runs. I didn’t have an answer for Greg, so I set out to try to find one. To do this, I first wanted to try to find a (potential) better way of measuring team consistency.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 26, 2014. Last Updated: August 26, 2014.