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Visualizing Baseball

Jim Albert
Chapman & Hall/CRC
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Brian Borchers
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Professional baseball has produced a mountain of data over the years, with box scores of games, statistics for individual players, and more detailed information on the results of each plate appearance by a batter. This data is an accessible and interesting source of examples for teaching data analysis and statistical modeling. Jim Albert’s book with Jay Bennet provides a broad survey of baseball statistics aimed at fans, while his book with Max Marchi provides a more technical introduction to using R in the analysis of baseball data [1,2].

In his most recent book, Albert revisits the subject and makes use of recently available data at the level of individual pitches and batted balls. For example, one chapter looks at the types of pitches thrown by a number of current pitchers and the outcomes of the pitches such as swings and misses, foul balls, and balls in play. The presentation is mostly graphical in nature and should be accessible to a wide audience. The author does provide data and R code used to produce the graphs on his website, but readers looking for a more technical introduction to using R in analyzing baseball data would be better served by his earlier book with Max Marchi.


[1] Jim Albert and Jay Bennet. Curve Ball: Baseball Statistics, and the Role of Chance in the Game, Revised Edition. Copernicus Books, 2003.

[2] Max Marchi and Jim Albert. Analyzing Baseball Data with R. Chapman and Hall/CRC, 2013.

Brian Borchers is a professor of Mathematics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. His interests are in optimization and applications of optimization in parameter estimation and inverse problems.

A History of Baseball

Career Trajectories

Game to Game Effects

The Pitcher and Batter Confrontation

The Pitch Count

Batted Balls



Clutch and Streak Performances