Bang the Can Slowly: An Investigation into the 2017 Houston Astros

28 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2020

See all articles by Ryan Elmore

Ryan Elmore

University of Denver - Daniels College of Business

Gregory Matthews

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 9, 2020

Abstract

This manuscript is a statistical investigation into the 2017 Major League Baseball scandal involving the Houston Astros, the World Series championship winner that same year. The Astros were alleged to have stolen their opponents' pitching signs in order to provide their batters with a potentially unfair advantage. This work finds compelling evidence that the Astros on-field performance was significantly affected by their sign-stealing ploy and quantifies the effects. The three main findings in the manuscript are: 1) the Astros' odds of swinging at a pitch were reduced by approximately 27% (OR: 0.725, 95% CI: (0.618, 0.850)) when the sign was stolen, 2) when an Astros player swung, the odds of making contact with the ball increased roughly 80% (OR: 1.805, 95% CI: (1.342, 2.675)) on non-fastball pitches, and 3) when the Astros made contact with a ball on a pitch in which the sign was known, the ball's exit velocity (launch speed) increased on average by 2.386 (95% CI: (0.334, 4.451)) miles per hour.

Keywords: baseball, sports statistics, generalized linear mixed models

Suggested Citation

Elmore, Ryan and Matthews, Gregory J., Bang the Can Slowly: An Investigation into the 2017 Houston Astros (September 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3690009 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3690009

Ryan Elmore (Contact Author)

University of Denver - Daniels College of Business ( email )

2101 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208
United States

Gregory J. Matthews

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
33
Abstract Views
298
PlumX Metrics