One fundamental aspect of baseball is how well you can describe every situation. With modern technology, this is becoming true of every sport, but the ability to categorize baseball stretches far back into history. We don’t have batted-ball type from 1951, but we know who was batting and pitching, the number of outs and base runners, the inning, the score, the park, and loads of other information for every plate appearance. The data gets better as we approach the present day, but organizing the game based on a collection of variables has a long history.
Want to know how well a batter hit against left-handed pitchers at home in 2004? That’s a question we can answer using something commonly known as “splits.” Some splits, such as handedness splits, are particularly meaningful. Others, such as day of the week splits, are entirely trivial. The compartmentalized nature of baseball, in which individual events occur in an orderly fashion, allows us to record tons of data and then sort it later however we choose.
This post covers basic information you will want to know as you dive into this realm of baseball data. If you’re an advanced consumer of baseball statistics, you probably won’t find a ton of information that’s new to you.