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Eyeballing for an Edge

April 30, 2015


We don’t begrudge anybody looking for a statistical edge to try to make his team a little stronger. Some years ago, Mendoza walked away from the “I’m coming into camp in the best shape of my life” types in favour of the “I had Laser Eye Surgery so now I can actually see the ball” crowd. Fair enough. Not sure how well that worked out. Maybe Mendoza can fill us in.

So, in that spirit, here’s a long read in yesterday’s Hardball Times which I’ll summarize quickly:

The experimenter wanted to know if eye colour affected day/night batting splits, and, as a special subcase, day-after-night games. The guess was that blue-eyed players would suffer from brighter daytime conditions. A further guess was that day-after-night would be especially tough on blue-eyed players as their macula struggled to adjust.

Players were classified into one of nine (!) eye -colour categories from Sinatras to Susans.

Most catchers don’t catch day-after-night anymore, so data was run with all batters and then run again with catchers cut out.

Results for BA, OBP, and Walk Rate actually ran somewhat opposite to the guesses. Defying the optometrists, blue-eyed batters actually hit relatively better in the daytime than the greens, hazels, browns and blacks.

Nobody’s quite sure why. Guys like Josh Hamilton hit with sunglasses on. Eye black. Who knows?

So maybe you start blue-eyed guys in daily leagues when you have roster decisions on a Sunday afternoon?

Just putting it out there.


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One Comment
  1. Copper permalink

    Yeah, the laser eye surgery theory of 2010 didn’t work out so well. I’m on a new one now, do the opposite of Shawn!

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