SABR 41: Poster Presentations

The poster presentations at SABR 41 will be available in the 2nd Floor General Area all week during the convention, July 6-10 at the Long Beach Hilton in Southern California. The poster presentation judged to be the best will win the USA Today Sports Weekly Award.

Presenters will be with their posters, for questions and discussion, from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, July 9.


SABR 41 poster presentations

P1: Pitch F/X as a Scouting Tool: Using Advanced Graphical Methods to Scout Hitters

Patrick Kilgo, Jeff Switchenko, Hillary Superak, Paul Weiss, Lisa Elon, Brian Schmotzer, Lance Waller

The wide availability of Pitch F/X data has fostered what promises to be a revolution in the analysis of pitching. In these early years, the collected pitch data are still being used largely anecdotally, with general conclusions derived from a scout’s impression of a graphical representation of the pitches. In this poster, the Emory research group offers a more sophisticated statistical approach to examining Pitch F/X datasets – spatial analysis and graphing. This technique can identify statistically valid clusters and diagrams that may demonstrate useful characteristics of hitters and pitchers that could be valuable information for coaches and players.

Pat Kilgo <> is on the faculty in the Biostatistics Department at the Emory University School of Public Health in Atlanta, where he teaches graduate methods courses and performs cardiothoracic surgery clinical research. His baseball interests are varied, though most of his effort goes into book collecting and a serious Braves devotion. He shares his life with his wife Michelle and four children. Jeff Switchenko is currently a Ph.D student in Biostatistics at Emory. In 2006, he received a BA in Mathematics with a minor in Chemistry from Bowdoin College. Born and raised in Boston, Jeff is a lifelong Red Sox fan, and grew up idolizing the likes of John Valentin, Troy O’Leary, and Brian Daubach. Hillary Superak, Paul Weiss, Lisa Elon, Brian Schmotzer, and Lance Waller are Kilgo’s colleagues at Emory.

P2: How Major League Baseball Scouts have Impacted Valuation Yields: An Empirical Analysis of MLB Scouting Resources

Sandeep Satish

Do clubs that utilize a large number of scouts make better draft decisions than those with fewer birddogs beating the bushes? Does proximity to the southern and western hotbeds of amateur baseball make a difference in team drafting capabilities? Does scouting experience make for a superior general manager? Those are some of the questions addressed in this presentation. Continuing a project he started as a college honors thesis, Satish examines more than a decade of amateur draft choices and the resulting professional careers of those players, linking that dataset with information on scouting and baseball operations personnel.

Sandeep Satish <> is a recent NYU graduate, hailing from central New Jersey, and currently works as an investment banking analyst in Public Finance at Citigroup. His passion for baseball covers all facets of the game from watching to playing to coaching. A diehard Yankee fan, he has not yet seen the Bronx Bombers lose a regular-season game at the new stadium (14-0). Sandeep currently volunteers for Harlem RBI as a coach for the 13-year-old travel team and plays third base for his softball team. He is extremely excited to share his passion for the game at his first SABR convention.

P3: Baseball Franchise Rankings

Tim Goehlert

Baseball fans love to argue about the relative quality of teams. Those discussions are usually much more concerned with the current position of the discussant’s favorite team than in the rankings of all franchises across the entire sweep of baseball history. In this poster presentation, Goehlert takes on the latter, larger challenge — assessing the 30 MLB clubs over the long haul. He’s developed and applied a formula for building his rankings. Surely his choices of variables and their relative weights will raise some eyebrows and some hackles. If it leads to raised voices, well, isn’t that what the hotel bar is for?

Tim Goehlert <> lives in Danvers, Massachusetts. He is a freelance digital producer who is currently pursuing an MBA at Suffolk University in Boston. He is a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and serves on the Salem State University Alumni Association Board of Directors. His first book, also titled Baseball Franchise Rankings, was published in 2011. A devoted Red Sox fan, he is not afraid to admit that he also roots for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

NOTE: Regrettably, Tim has informed us that he is unavailable to attend the convention and will not be able to present his poster.

P4: Distribution Counts: Pitchers’ Run Support Revisited

Bob Sawyer

It’s an eternal question – is it better to be steady and predictable or to swing between great and awful? A specified seasonal ERA can be built in many ways. At one extreme, the pitcher could allow the same number of runs per 9 IP in every game; alternatively, he might pitch nothing but shutouts and blowouts. At the same time, that pitcher’s teammates may back him with a variable amount of run support. In this poster, Sawyer examines these varying patterns to develop “Expected Victories” for pitchers. These expectations are then compared to actual W-L results.

Bob Sawyer <> has been a fanatic about baseball statistics from the day he learned to read the back of a baseball card. For many years, his most cherished possession was the first edition of the MacMillan Encylopedia. In 1971, he played Sport Illustrated Baseball for the first time and developed lifetime interests both in sports simulation games and in Game and Decision theory. He notes ruefully that while he was supposedly writing a prospectus for his dissertation about the Game Theory aspects of Mutual Assured Destruction, he was writing a 16-page discussion of why a disagreement between Bill James and Pete Palmer could not be resolved via the principles of Utility theory. Bob joined SABR in 2008 and made a presentation at the first meeting he attended. He contributed to the Scouts Committee’s Compendium of Biographies in 2010, but his main interest remains the identification and measurement of player value.

P5: Re-siting Baseball History: Using GIS Technology to Locate and Honor Washington Park, Indianapolis

Chris Baas, Geri Strecker, Noel Fliss, Trey Strecker, Angela Gibson

Geographic information systems (GIS) constitute a powerful tool in an ever-widening variety of disciplines, from legislative redistricting to natural resources distribution to locating clusters of auto accidents. In this study, the authors utilize GIS to envision the probable location of Indianapolis’s historic Washington Park. Adding architectural and GIS research expertise to the team of history and social science researchers collaborating in Geri Strecker’s earlier work on black baseball, the authors construct a detailed and accurate picture of this long-vanished ballyard.

Chris Baas is an assistant professor of Landscape Architecture at Ball State University and specializes in documenting Indiana’s historic landscapes. He recently received the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology’s Best National Register Award for his research on the Thomas Edison Concept Houses in Gary, Indiana. A lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, Chris had the wonderful experience of working at Riverfront Stadium during the 1990 World Series. Geri Strecker <> is an assistant professor of English at Ball State University, where she also teaches sports studies and writing in architecture. A Negro Leagues historian, she is writing a biography of Oscar Charleston, collecting the columns of black sportswriter Dave Wyatt, and working on a book about pre-WWI baseball in the Philippines. Her article “The Rise and Fall of Greenlee Field: Biography of a Ballpark” received the 2009 McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award. Noel Fliss is a senior environment graphic designer at RLR Associates in Indianapolis and co-chair of the Oscar Charleston Central Indiana SABR chapter. He roots for the Brewers. Trey Strecker is an assistant professor of English and coordinator of the interdisciplinary sports studies minor at Ball State University. He is also editor of NINE: A Journal of Baseball History & Culture and co-chair of the Oscar Charleston SABR chapter. Angela Gibson is a GIS specialist at Ball State University.

P6: Ballpark Foul Area May Contribute to Hitters’ Strikeout Totals

Tom Tomsick

It stands to reason that one of the factors contributing to the number of strikeouts in a particular ballpark would be its amount of foul territory. The logic of the argument is that if a foul pop lands in the stands instead of a fielder’s glove, the batter is still a candidate to be fanned. Tomsick tested that hypothesis for the American League (1964-1968) at SABR 40, concluding there was indeed an inverse correlation between foul territory and whiffs. In this poster, he extends the analysis, adding both the NL and additional years to the dataset.

Tom Tomsick <> was bullpen catcher for the strikeout-record-setting Cleveland Indians pitching staff in 1964-66, attended St. Louis University School of Medicine, and is currently Professor of Radiology, Director of Neuroradiology at the University of Cincinnati. He is author of STRIKE THREE! My Years in the ‘Pen!, a story of that Indians’ pitching staff.

P7: The Hall of Fame Index

Scott Barzilla

The Hall of Fame Index takes three popular statistical platforms (win shares, wins above replacement player (WARP3), and wins above replacement (WAR)) and combines them into one metric. The Index combines the collective wisdom of several legendary sabermetricians into one number. Using their various metrics (and the various biases used to develop those metrics) allows us to provide a balanced view of fitness for the Hall of Fame. Barzilla will use the Index to give an in-depth look into the Hall of Fame and its voting history.

Scott Barzilla <> has been a member of SABR for more than 10 years. He has spent that time studying sabermetrics and the Hall of Fame. He is also the author of Checks and Imbalances (2002) and The State of Baseball Management (2004). The Hall of Fame Index (2010) was nominated for The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award this year. In addition to those books, Barzilla writes for and When not writing about baseball, he works as a counselor in Houston and spends quality time with his wife, Janet, and daughter, Annie.

P8: MLB Moves West: A Demographic Inevitability

F.X. Flinn

When the Dodgers and Giants moved to California in the late 1950s, the post-WWII boom years were in full swing. Births were booming, along with suburbs, air transport, interstates, television and all the other infrastructure of an increasingly consumer-oriented society. Flinn reviews Census results from 1910 to 2000 to shed light on how changes in population characteristics were reflected in the franchise shifts and expansions of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Through commented charts and graphs showing both absolute numbers and rates of change in the population, housing styles, disposable income, etc., he investigates the strength of national and regional demographic trends as an influence on these franchise shifts.

F.X. Flinn <> has been SABR’s Treasurer since 2001. In 1990, he started Expert Systems Development Corp, an IT consulting firm specializing in data warehousing, knowledge management and process development. After graduating from Cornell in 1975, he worked in the trade book publishing industry for Doubleday and Bantam. In 1981 he became involved with the Rotisserie League founders and published the first book on fantasy sports, Rotisserie League Baseball, three years later. F. X. (the initials are for Francis Xavier) comes from a large extended family, and while he and his wife have no children, they enjoy doting on more than a score of nieces and nephews. They live in Quechee, Vermont.

P9: Biographing the Miracle Mets

Maxwell Kates

Championship teams are composed of future Hall of Famers, rookies, and players of local interest. In this presentation, Kates describes his research methodology of using secondary sources to support his primary sources, the limitations he encountered and his solutions to overcome these problems, leading to an accurate paper with an acceptable narrative. He will display case studies of players from the 1969 Mets. In a very real sense, this poster is research about doing research. Kates expects Rod Gaspar, subject of one of his biographical essays, to attend the poster session.

Maxwell Kates <> is an accountant based in Toronto and a SABR member since 2001. As Director of Marketing with the Hanlan’s Point Chapter, he has worked with the local steering committee to oversee several regional events and projects, including a documentary screening and book signing with Fergie Jenkins. Prior speaking engagements include the 2004 Limmud Conference at York University and the 2006 SABR convention in Seattle. He has been published in Elysian Fields Quarterly, the Globe and Mail, and four issues of The National Pastime leading up the 2011 edition. As a member of the Biographical Research Committee, his research and compositions have been included in This Miracle Has Landed, among other anthologies. An avid Tigers fan since the demise of the Montreal Expos, he lists Magglio Ordonez’s three-run homer to propel Detroit into the 2006 World Series as his favorite baseball memory.

P10: A Study of the Impact of Injuries on the 2010 Red Sox Performance

Ryan Petitti

Red Sox fans were excited entering the 2011 season, in anticipation of the return of Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. All three were rated highly at the 2010 season but were felled by injuries. Pettiti measures the impact of these injuries on the Red Sox’s 2010 performance, using various statistics, including Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for these players (using the actual performance of their replacements as a comparison). He will use these stats to determine if these injuries really did cost the Red Sox a playoff spot in 2010 and whether these players’ healthy return should have been expected to launch the 2011 Red Sox to the postseason.

Ryan Petitti <> is a student at Elon University, as are his co-authors Michael Iszard and Nicholas Fales.

For a complete schedule of SABR 41 events, click here.

For registration, hotel and all other information, click here to go back to the SABR 41 home page.

Originally published: May 31, 2011. Last Updated: April 17, 2020.