In the book, Bradbury uses “sabernomics” to examine particular baseball puzzles – ranging from the field of play and beyond. What is “sabernomics”? It’s taking sabermetrics to another level – by injecting it with a heavy dose of economic study applications.
Sabermetrics is the statistical analysis of baseball data. However, as Bradbury writes: “Sabermetrics involves analytical and statistical methods, but the analysis is often narrow and is not based on economic assumptions about human behavior.”
To address this issue, Bradbury – who is an associate professor of economics at Kennesaw State – has enhanced the sabermetric method of analysis by incorporating the tools of modern economics into the process. These tools analyze human behavior and study how people respond to incentives. And, in the end, you have “sabernomics.”
“The Baseball Economist,” powered by “sabernomics,” looks into trends on hit batsmen, the influence of on-deck batters on pitchers, the fallacy of fearing left-handed catchers, the impact of managers chirping on balls and strikes, the value of Leo Mazzone, the myth of market driven competitive imbalance, dealing with steroid use, and ‘putting a dollar sign on the muscle’ (meaning using stats and the economic approach to judge talent and determine worth) – among several other topics.
I found the content of Bradbury’s book to be original, refreshing, thorough, objective, and thought-provoking. As such, “The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed” is the type of book that the analytical baseball fan will find as worth reading – and reading again. The publisher of Bradbury’s book refers to the work as “Freakonomics meets Moneyball” and I would agree with this label. And, I would not be shocked to see “The Baseball Economist” do just as well (as those two books) on the seller’s charts. I highly recommend Bradbury’s book as one of the “must-read” baseball books of 2007.