BIG DATA COMES TO MONEYBALL. I have posted a number of times, including here, about how Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, pioneered the application of improved statistics (sabermetrics), as shown in the Michael Lewis book MONEYBALL and the movie based on it. Cliff Boulton and Michael Hickins had a a blog post in the Wall Street Journal (March 5) about how major league baseball is introducing “clusters of high performance cameras abetted by software to provide data on every action on a baseball diamond”. For example, software records the position of every player 30 times a second, while radar software tracks the flight path of the ball 20,000 times a second. The first three parks to have the cameras will be the home fields of the Brewers, the Twins, and the Mets. The article features Billy Beane, who says that the advantage that the Athletics had in the early Moneyball period has been competed away by other teams who have adopted Beane’s emphasis on statistics like OBA (on base average). The Athletics have already developed proprietary algorithms to make use of the new data.
I would expect that the early applications of big data will be in defense, where the existence of several competing metrics suggests that no one current metric is satisfactory.