Seminar 217, Risk Management: Hot or Not? A Nonparametric Formulation of the Hot Hand in Baseball

Seminar | February 11 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 1011 Evans Hall

 Amanda Glazer, UC Berkeley

 Consortium for Data Analytics in Risk

ABSTRACT: "I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?" - Yogi Berra

We have all perceived streaks of hits and misses when watching sports. Often people will blame a magical streakiness that leads players to be "hot" or "cold." Are we to believe in this streakiness or should we believe Yogi Berra that there is no one to blame for strings of hits and misses, especially not the fault of the player themselves? In this talk, I will present a nonparametric approach to analyzing the existence of the hot hand in baseball as well as numerous other inference questions in baseball. I will discuss the advantages of a nonparametric approach over other parametric approaches. Our (joint work with Lisa Goldberg) analysis of player plate appearances in the 2018 Major League Baseball season provides no evidence of a batter hot hand.