Changing It Up: Determining the Nash Equilibria for MLB pitchers
11 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2023
Date Written: June 3, 2023
In order to prevent batters from hitting a pitch, pitchers must decide on a strategic balance of many different pitch types. While each pitcher has preferred pitches (likely those with which he is most confident), he cannot over-utilize his dominant pitches, or batters will be able to gain a strategic advantage in trying to put the ball into play. We analyze the corpus of Major League Baseball (MLB) pitch data in order to determine whether or not MLB pitchers are able to reach the theorized mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium given the pitcher’s skill in utilizing each type of pitch. Our data suggests that MLB pitchers are incredibly rational, and succeed in reaching the mixed-strategy Nash Equilibrium.
Keywords: Baseball, Game Theory, Utility Maximization, Heuristics
JEL Classification: Z20, C73
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation