Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Economics


Business Economics


Andrew Narwold


Stephen Conroy


In baseball, runs are considered the currency of the game. As a result, the foremost value of pitchers to their respective teams comes in the form of run prevention and keeping the opposing offense off the scoreboard as much as possible. While Major League Baseball has taken steps to better evaluate the run prevention skills of pitchers independent of their defensive teammates, new radar technology has made possible the research of specific skills related to a pitcher’s repertoire of offerings. In this article, the author first examines the relationship between various pitch characteristics — velocity, movement, and location — and the primary offensive-suppression objective of Major League Baseball pitchers. Evidence from the research suggests that characteristics related to velocity and control provide the greatest independent impacts on run prevention at the major league level. Building off of these results, the author then introduces a new statistic — the Indexed Command Diagnostic (ICD) — that is meant to empirically evaluate the pitchers who locate their pitches the best. Finally, the author examines the relationship between this new statistic and pitcher salaries in Major League Baseball to determine the efficiency of front office spending on big league arms, finding that baseball executives significantly undervalue meaningful pitch characteristics such as location relative to their respective on-field impacts. Collectively, the analyses may be used to determine that the implementation of the Indexed Command Diagnostic will aid not only run prevention efforts on the field by incentivizing productive pitcher behavior, but also assist in optimizing the financial commitments made by MLB organizations to big league pitchers off the field as well.