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Offensive performance, omitted variables, and the value of speed in baseball


  • Turocy, Theodore L.


This note considers the problem of estimating the marginal products of offensive events towards a baseball team's objective of scoring runs. Regression techniques on official statistics give a positive marginal product for a stolen base attempt, which is inconsistent with the theory of mixed strategy Nash equilibrium. Augmenting the specification of the production function to include other productive qualities of footspeed restores estimates consistent with equilibrium theory.
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Suggested Citation

  • Turocy, Theodore L., 2005. "Offensive performance, omitted variables, and the value of speed in baseball," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 283-286, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:89:y:2005:i:3:p:283-286

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Theodore L. Turocy, 2004. "The Theory of Theft: An Inspection Game Model of the Stolen Base Play in Baseball," Game Theory and Information 0401005, EconWPA, revised 10 May 2005.
    2. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
    3. P.-A. Chiappori, 2002. "Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1138-1151, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stekler, H.O. & Sendor, David & Verlander, Richard, 2010. "Issues in sports forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 606-621, July.
      • Herman O. Stekler & David Sendor & Richard Verlander, 2009. "Issues in Sports Forecasting," Working Papers 2009-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    2. Young Lee, 2011. "Is the small-ball strategy effective in winning games? A stochastic frontier production approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 51-59, February.
    3. Theodore L. Turocy, 2012. "An inspection game model of the stolen base in baseball: A theory of theft," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 032, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    4. Baumer Ben S, 2009. "Using Simulation to Estimate the Impact of Baserunning Ability in Baseball," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-18, May.
    5. Jim Downey & Joseph McGarrity, 2015. "Pick off Throws, Stolen Bases, and Southpaws: A Comparative Static Analysis of a Mixed Strategy Game," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 43(3), pages 319-335, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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