Pirates Breakdown Editor in Chief Jason Rollison was recently selected to present at the Sabermetrics, Scouting and the Science of Baseball Seminar August 5-6, 2017 in Boston, Mass.
Rollison, co-founder of the independent media outlet covering the Pittsburgh Pirates and their affiliates, will present data and findings from in-depth research related to strike zone efficiency. His abstract, “Finding One Strike Zone Effectiveness Metric to Rule Them All” was selected from a “very large volume” of submissions for consideration, according to seminar officials, for presentation at the two-day event.
Rollison was inspired to research and develop a method to definitively measure a pitcher’s effectiveness in any part of the strike zone after Pirates Pitching Coach Ray Searage told media during Spring Training that he would be working with pitchers during spring training to pitch “up in the zone” more in 2017, he said.
“As the Pirates have long been ground ball enthusiasts obsessed with keeping the ball low, this struck us as peculiar to say the least,” Rollison added.
He went to work, using complete pitchf/x data and the least squares regression method to develop a statistic, ZEF (Zone Efficiency Factor) that combines several important and common descriptors of pitcher performance into on universal weighted metric. ZEF is comprised of three components: average exit velocity of batted balls (EV), the rate at which batters miss when they swing at a pitch (Whiff%) and deception factor that looks to accurately determine a pitcher’s ability to “fool” hitters (DF) – calculated by the number of called strikes divided by the number of pitches taken by the batter.
Those interested can read the initial work that prompted the abstract HERE. Rollison was aided greatly by Carnegie Mellon alumnus Jeremy Wyne in his research, who will be presenting along with Rollison.
While Rollison and Wyne’s research is ongoing, real-time data collection began with the start of the 2017 major league season. He hopes to put his findings out for peer review following his presentation at Sabermetrics, Scouting and the Science of Baseball Seminar.
Pirates Breakdown will update this post when exact presenting time and date are available.
Rollison had this to say regarding his selection:
“Being selected to present at the Saber Seminar is a huge honor for me personally,” he said. “But I take greater pride in what it means for Pirates Breakdown. From day-one, PBD has aimed to push the conversation surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates forward. Our unique blend of content seen daily on piratesbreakdown.com, which includes engaging commentary, engaging longform, robust audio content and in-depth analysis has afforded us the ability to do just that. Our presence at the Sabermetrics, Scouting and Science of Baseball Seminar only validates that fact.”
About Pirates Breakdown and Jason Rollison
Pirates Breakdown was founded in December 2015. In its one and a half years, the site has steadily grown in readership and advertising revenue, reaching its first 100,000 unique view month in July 2016 and is now on pace to achieve well over 4 million unique pageviews for 2017. Original content has been picked up by Bleacher Report, MLB Trade Rumors and other noted sports websites. Rollison has been writing about baseball and the Pirates for nearly five years. He’s appeared as a frequent phone-in and in-studio guest for numerous radio outlets including ESPN Radio stations across Pennsylvania and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio). In addition, he is a freelance writer covering the Pittsburgh Pirates and minor league teams – both within and outside of the Pirates’ system – for a variety of print publications.
In late 2016, Pirates Breakdown released its free mobile app for Android and Apple platforms. Both can be found by searching “Pirates Breakdown” in respective app stores.
About Sabermetrics, Scouting and the Science of Baseball
Held August 5-6 in Boston, Mass., Saber Seminar aims to help attendees grasp how science is blended with advanced baseball statistics and traditional scouting assessments to produce outstanding results for teams. In its seventh year, all funds raised during the seminar is contributed to the Angioma Alliance. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.saberseminar.com