Pivot Points : Data Analysis of Win Probability Added In Pivotal Baseball Situations
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This study is an analytical look at pivotal situations that occur during Major League Baseball games, and their benefits to understanding player and team performance. These pivotal situations are called Pivot Points(Piv), and are defined as any situation where a teams Win Expectancy(WE) crosses over the 50% threshold. This study analyzes the total impact of Piv with the aid of the variables Leverage Index(Li), Weighted Win Probability Added(wWPA) and Change in Score. Piv totals were quantified for the entire league, and rankings were produced for both individual players and teams. These rankings were used within regression analysis to test for an inverse correlation between Piv and Pitcher Wins Above Replacement(PWAR). Significance was present in the test of Piv per team and PWAR, suggesting a possible correlation between the amount of Pivot Points allowed by team and their pitching staff performance. More data must be compiled before fully understanding the importance of Piv and individual player performance. The population of Major League Baseball pitchers was too large to get a proper range for Piv over a single season examination of the variable. The addition of historical data would increase the amount of Pivot Points observed, while additionally, increasing the range and average Piv per player. This allows for a more equal distribution of data points throughout the entirety of the population of pitchers. These findings could aid in the understanding of individual pitcher performance and managerial pitching decisions within pivotal situations.