Washington, Feb 18 : Sophisticated techniques using computer modeling might help baseball scouts to select players who have the potential to perform well during a match, thus building a winning team.
According to a report in New Scientist, baseball managers have long used basic batting and pitching statistics to evaluate player performance. Now, analysts of the game have taken "sabermetrics" - the fledgling science of baseball statistics - to new heights.
Feeding high-resolution images of the exact location of every ball hit into the field and the play resulting from each ball into a computer model, Shane Jensen of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has evaluated the defensive fielding performance of all major league baseball players relative to the league average.
Using a similar program, baseball analyst and blogger David Pinto factors in six parameters, including how hard the ball was hit and which park the fielder is playing in, to rank professional players based on how many of the opposing team's runs they prevented and how many runs they gave up.
The information could give baseball scouts and managers an added advantage over the competition.
"I can have an edge over some other team knowing this person can save me 10 runs," said Pinto, adding that he has been contacted by at least one pro team interested in his software.
Still, the analysts think the expanding field of sabermetrics named after the Society for American Baseball Research will still leave at least some room for coaches' intuition.
"I don't think you are ever going to take hunches out of the equation entirely," says Jensen.