The Game Theory of Baseball

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Decision-making in Baseball Baseball is a great game to analyze from game theory perspective because of the scale of strategic decisions that are continuously made on the fields and each play. In every play, there are various players (baseball players, coaches, team managers and owners) with different goals and payoffs, and thousands of pitch-by-pitch decisions are made in course of an at-bat, inning, game, and season. Major League Baseball, one of the four major professional sports leagues of North America, is the most suitable platform for analysis because statistical information is tracked for almost every single complexion of the game. In the following paper, we choose to inspect one at-bat decision of a single game in detail as a…show more content…
In general, for defense side, minimizing opponent's batting average would be the priority. In this case, the optimal choice for Leyland is to choose Porcello against Ortiz with lowest BA .286. However, the situation here is not that simple. As Ortiz representing tie-run, minimizing his slugging rate would be more essential than his batting average because a long-hit (slugging) would cause greater damage; Tigers was 5-1 lead which was situation that single is more acceptable than extra-base hit because a single might only cause they lost 2 runs and a extra-base hit might cause 3 or 4 runs. Thus, considering minimum damage as priority, using Benoit would be the optimal choice for Leyland, same as we figured out in last paragraph. In the report of Jim Caple ii, "Benoit is our guy against lefties and we felt he gave us the best chance to get the out," Leyland said.

Benoit v.s. Ortiz Following the conclusion from our game tree, Leyland chose to use Benoit in to face Ortiz. In order to analyze the theoretic decisions in this at bat, we will look at the possible outcomes and decisions on pitch-by-pitch basis. In order to inspect pitch selection issues, we will set the payoff based on Runs Above Average (RAA). RAA measures a hitter’s ability to create runs based on the pitch that

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