THE NEED FOR STATISTICS WHICH DEAL WITH PITCH SEQUENCES. Pitch sequencing affects the batter’s expectations for the next pitch as they are formed by both his conscious system and his unconscious system. Arneson says: “Pitch sequencing…is at the heart of… baseball, yet it is woefully understudied in current public analysis, because our tools, based on a foundation of unordered sets, are woefully bad at processing and studying sequenced events. Arneson calls for statistical analysis of what he calls “the engine that drives the sport”: what pitch the batter is expecting and what happens when he is correct or incorrect.
Arneson clearly hopes for this kind of statistical work from big data, and I can see how it could happen. For example, as a beginning, data could be collected on what happens when a pitcher’s fastball varies in speed by two or more miles an hour from the previous fastball to the same batter. Or data could be collected on how effective a pitcher’s change up (change of speed) is to a number of batters with different pitches preceding it. With pitch by pitch data now available, the statistical breakthroughs of the 1980’s seem blunt.