It’s the pinstripe power factor. It’s predicting the next move on and off the field. It’s the data that drives analysis and leads to predicting player performance to build a winning team.

This year, the Yankees are running better off the diamond, and here’s why…

The New York Yankees historical and prediction dashboards, powered by SAP, are taking the game and the pinstripe-clad powerhouse franchise to the next level of play. The dashboards provide an interactive view of player and team statistics that franchise and team management, and Yankee fans can use and appreciate.

The historical dashboard shows past teams and all players beyond the numbers usually associated with game play. Beginning with the 1903 team, by selecting the team and clicking the corresponding tab, the dashboard kicks back an interactive infographic displaying the most important stats. It shows that the 1903 team had 72 wins, 62 loses and ended the season as 4th in the American League. Their overall team batting average was .249, which is .60 below their overall team average of .309. Almost all their averages, homeruns, hits, runs, and batting stats were below their all-time average. Although no one ever claimed the 1903 Yankees were the best team ever, it’s clear that they weren’t.

Fast-forward to 2013 and when checking out the teams current stats (as they are more than halfway through the season), with 95 games completed of the regular season’s 162, the Yankees have collected 51 wins and 44 loses, ranking them 4th in the American league and 81st of all 111 Yankees teams. Their total strikeouts are hitting the all-time average and earned run average is performing much better than the all-time average (3.74 and 4.88 respectively). This shows that the 2013 Yankees seem to have what is takes from the pitching aspect (although key pitcher, CC Sabathia doesn’t seem to be performing to his optimal standards), but their hitters are also struggling a bit to get on base and score winning runs.

When reviewing Sabathia’s stats, he is giving up more homers than usual, but is throwing a bit better than last year. As Yankee analysis blog, It’s All About the Money, eloquently points out, numbers don’t always show the entire analysis of a player and asks, “Is CC putting up standard numbers with worse results because he’s truly getting unlucky, or is it because something else has changed that is harder to identify in the numbers?” That is something to be answered as the season goes on, and that may be some of the limitations of simply looking at data.

But what data mining can also do on a close-to-accurate basis is show the potential of a player through the predictions dashboard, a tool that can reveal potential and anticipated performance results. By accessing the dashboard, a user can select a current player and their batting or pitching performance will be displayed as an interactive line graph with variables that can be adjusted.

For instance, selecting Derek Jeter will result in batting performance data dating back to 1995 and will show his consistencies (and inconsistencies) in batting average, home runs, runs, and RBIs. By selecting the amount of expected at-bats he will have this season, the line will adjust and reflect the predicted outcomes of his overall performance at season’s end. It will also show how many at-bats are needed, and the results of those at-bats to generate a higher batting average to outperform past years.

For years, baseball statisticians have thrived on collecting data and running analysis to discuss player performance. Through these innovative and interactive dashboards, team management can have access to the stats in one space, and visually have an opportunity to see how their decisions will impact player and team performance.

Originally published on SAP Business Innovation by Jen Cohen Crompton, on August 26, 2013


Published September 2, 2014 in Baseball