The widespread use of statistical analysis in sports-particularly Baseball- has made it increasingly necessary for small and mid-market teams to find ways to maintain their analytical advantages over large market clubs. In baseball, an opportunity for exists for teams with limited financial resources to sign players under team control to long-term contracts before other teams can bid for their services in free agency. If small and mid-market clubs can successfully identify talented players early, clubs can save money, achieve cost certainty and remain competitive for longer periods of time. These deals are also advantageous to players since they receive job security and greater financial dividends earlier in their career. The objective of this paper is to develop a regression-based predictive model that teams can use to forecast the performance of young baseball players with limited Major League experience. There were several tasks conducted to achieve this goal: (1) Data was obtained from Major League Baseball and Lahman's Baseball Database and sorted using Excel macros for easier analysis. (2) Players were separated into three positional groups depending on similar fielding requirements and offensive profiles: Group I was comprised of first and third basemen, Group II contains second basemen, shortstops, and center fielders and Group III contains left and right fielders. (3) Based on the context of baseball and the nature of offensive performance metrics, only players who achieve greater than 200 plate appearances within the first two years of their major league debut are included in this analysis. (4) The statistical software package JMP was used to create regression models of each group and analyze the residuals for any irregularities or normality violations. Once the models were developed, slight adjustments were made to improve the accuracy of the forecasts and identify opportunities for future work. It was discovered that Group I and Group III were the easiest player groupings to forecast while Group II required several attempts to improve the model.
- Early Career Performance Models: Regression-Based Forecasting Models for Predicting Future Major League Baseball Player Performance
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