Baseball is probably the world’s most analysed sport in terms of statistics and data collection. This data-driven approach at all levels of baseball makes markets tough to beat without access to in-depth analytical tools. What are top three free tools that baseball bettors can use to get an edge? We did the research. Read on for the results.
MLB analysis can be confusing. It’s one thing to understand that WAR is superior to older stats, but it’s another to understand how WAR is arrived at and how to apply that knowledge to MLB betting. Here are the three top tools that will help you out in your quest for an edge when betting on baseball.
Number 1 - Fangraphs
Fangraphs is the next step in the evolution of baseball fandom, continuing where Bill James and SABR started and Tom Tango and co-authors of The Book continued. The website produced dozens of articles per day, each looking at developing stories with a keenly analytical approach. It’s cutting edge information, with the authors developing new stats and matching strategies before the readers’ eyes.
Fangraphs value to the bettor comes in two forms. First, it serves as a fantastic database, with each player season divided in dozens of ways, with just about every accessible element of the game dissected.
Want to know how a player performs against left-handed pitchers? In day games? Over the last week, month, season or career? That information is easily accessible and well-organised. Pore over the stats enough and you’ll have a good idea of the results you can expect in each game. That’s only the starting point though.
The more critical element Fangraphs provides is through fluency. Understanding baseball’s statistical evolution is not unlike understanding a language and the more you read, the more fluent you become.
Reading this website once a day for a month can give you some idea of what’s out there - continue reading it daily and you will become fluent in baseball in a way even players are not. They know how to play, but won’t understand what leads to victories. Because your bets rely on that very comprehension, it makes Fangraphs invaluable to you.
Number 2 - BaseballSavant
While Fangraphs can be counted upon to keep you evolving, it can’t do everything. Most notably, Fangraphs isn’t the home of StatCast data, which is to say, if you want to take advantage of baseball’s NEXT evolutionary wave of analysis you need to venture elsewhere. Enter BaseballSavant.
By comparing and contrasting a pitcher’s successes with opposing hitters’ failures, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of success those hitters will have on a given night.
According to MLB.com, “StatCast, a state-of-the-art tracking technology, is capable of gathering and displaying previously immeasurable aspects of the game. StatCast collects the data using a series of high-resolution optical cameras along with radar equipment that has been installed in all 30 Major League ballparks.”
In layman’s terms, StatCast tells us how hard a ball is hit and at what angles, how fast fielders are running, how direct their routes are and a whole bunch of other info that’s incredibly useful for determining just how effective a player truly is. It’s one thing to know Mike Trout hit 29 home runs in 2016; it’s another to know how often he’s hitting balls in such a way that they could be home runs. The difference is that the latter does a better job at determining value bets.
The kind of particulars Savant offers is especially important when you know the starting pitchers for a particular game. Search for a player and you’ll immediately be confronted with data like average exit velocity, zone breakdown, launch angle, a pitch breakdown and much more.
By comparing and contrasting a pitcher’s successes with opposing hitters’ failures, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of success those hitters will have on a given night. It’s all incredibly valuable information, it’s out there for public consumption and while the sharpest bettors are already using it, casuals aren’t. Getting ahead of them is crucial in markets the size of those you’ll find at Pinnacle.
Number 3 - Brooksbaseball
Taking the StatCast example in the BaseballSavant section a step further, Brooksbaseball is the online bible of pitching. It tells you everything about a pitcher using PITCHFX data to paint an incredibly clear picture of how a pitcher threw in each start of their career.
Clicking on a player name gives you a general write-up on the pitcher along with a basic description of his pitches backed by heaps of data. - “Clayton Kershaw threw 28,439 pitches that were tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2007 and 2016, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2016, he relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Slider (89mph), also mixing in a Curve (74mph). He also rarely threw a Change (89mph) and Slow Curve (47mph).”
Every one of those 28,439 pitches Kershaw has thrown has also been tracked and charted, with available information including the velocity and movement (both horizontal and vertical), release point etc.
The lesson to be taken from the sources listed here is that it’s on you as the baseball bettor to stay ahead of the curve. The data is out there and the casuals aren’t using it, which means sharp bettors have an opportunity to beat what’s long been considered a solved game. Check out these three websites and get fluent in applying their benefits to your betting game. You’ll be glad you did.