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Baseball and Economics: Senior Thesis

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Baseball and Economics: Senior Thesis

Postby Bravos of Steel » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:42 pm

Hey everybody,

I am a senior in college and want to compare baseball sabermetrics with the economics in baseball today for my senior thesis. For example, do sabermetrics line up with player contracts? Something along those lines. I'm having a hard time trying to find a good solid focus for a topic though. I have to keep in mind that it's for an economic thesis too. Just figured I'd run this by the Cafe, but does anyone have any interesting ideas on how I can do a study on sabermetrics and the economics of baseball? And for that matter, do you know of anywhere I can look for legitimate literature on baseball? Thanks a lot!
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Re: Baseball and Economics: Senior Thesis

Postby RugbyD » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:49 am

you can start here for some helpful writings and resources. ... sports.htm

Continue searching the authors of the other academic papers and I'm sure you'll find lots of info. I'm not sure how much you'll find on your desired topic of working sabermetrics into things. There probably isn't a large enough data set available, but I could be wrong. An easy fallback would be to discuss public financing of stadiums.
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Re: Baseball and Economics: Senior Thesis

Postby lastingsgriller » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:14 am

if it helps.. the player profiles on show all players salaries.

obviously, read moneyball. that will at least give you some ideas on what direction you might want to take..
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Re: Baseball and Economics: Senior Thesis

Postby Tavish » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:26 am

You might take a look at Fangraphs since they have some direct comparisons of player salaries vs WAR. Not sure how far back they went but an interesting angle might be to see if player salaries have come more in line with Sabermetric evaluations as those evaluations have gained more notoriety. I guess you could use Baseball Prospectus as well since they have WARP available for all player seasons (but don't have salary info easily available IIRC).

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Re: Baseball and Economics: Senior Thesis

Postby anti elian » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:32 pm

I know that Ray Fair of Yale and Stanley Engerman of Rochester have written a few things about econ and sports. Fair wrote about the effects of age in sports and skill decline and pointed out that there were some pretty large outliers in the modern era of baseball like Bonds and Clemens. Engerman has written a lot about discrimination, but I'm not sure if there's anything else. There was also someone at one of the California schools who wrote a paper in optimal control theory in the context of a football game. I can't remember who it was and if this was simply an exposition, but I'm pretty sure that Bellicheat is known to have read it and has used it to help his decision making on when to go for it, punt or kick.

Updating Fair's results with the post-steroid era data would make for a really good senior thesis. I've always wanted to disentangle the effects of skill drafting players versus having a good player development system in pro sports, but the econometrics for something like that would probably be a little beyond the scope of a senior thesis. Best of luck.
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