Undergraduate Thesis Presentation: "Predicting Spin Efficiency of Baseball Fastballs"

Speaker: Bennett Hoshaw, Washington University in Saint Louis

Abstract: Over the past few years, advances in technology have allowed for better measurements of pitched baseballs including spin efficiency—the proportion of the spin imparted on a pitch that directly affects the pitch’s movement. Previous research has determined a relationship between a pitch’s gyro degree and spin efficiency. In the absence of the gyro degree variable, the goal is to build a predictor that can correctly determine the spin efficiency of a baseball fastball based on measurements at the time of release. In this pursuit, two prediction methods are implemented—multiple linear regression and random forest. With a specific interest on pitchers ages 13-25, over 350,000 fastballs collected by baseball technology company Rapsodo on the Pitching 2.0 device serves as the dataset for this analysis. As many pitchers aim to maximize the true spin of their fastballs, this analysis aims to provide insight into pitch design by providing algorithms to predict the spin efficiency of future pitches.

Host: Victor Wickerhauser