Aug. 4, 2009
Correction: This release contains an update from the original release. The name of the UI graduate student is Dan Brooks, not Mark Brooks.
Innovative graduate student makes MLB pitching stats available to all
If you need a pitch-by-pitch analysis of Chicago White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle's July 23 perfect game, University of Iowa graduate student Dan Brooks has created just the Web site.
Brooksbaseball.net offers data in eight pitching categories from every Major League Baseball game since 2008, including average speed, strike percentage and average pitch movement.
Brooks is pursuing a doctorate in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, but started the site as a hobby in 2008 after noticing an interest in pitching statistics while posting information on Sons of Sam Horn, a Red Sox fan forum.
The site averages about a thousand unique visitors per day, many of whom are journalists who cover Major League Baseball.
"I got a ton of hits from people looking at Buehrle's perfect game. It was completely unspectacular in every way except for the fact it was perfect," said Brooks, a die-hard Red Sox fan from Boston, Mass.
Sportvision, a company that provides various television viewing enhancements to a number of different professional sporting events, has a set of cameras at every ballpark taking pictures of the baseball on its way to home plate. The company captures the ball's starting position, velocity and acceleration in three dimensions. Sportvision provides the data, called PITCHf/x, for free.
"My Web site grabs that data and puts it on the screen in a way people can do something with it," Brooks said.
The site also has innings and pitcher vs. hitter matchup selectors for more specific information. Brooks is partnering with Sean Forman, an alumnus of the Graduate College, who runs Baseball-Reference.com, a Web site that provides statistics for every player in Major League Baseball history.
"You can currently get to my Web site from Baseball-Reference, but we're in the process of building a more complete PITCHf/x section of Baseball-Reference," Brooks said.
Brooks doesn't consider building and administering baseball Web sites his calling; he's more interested in academia than athletics. At the UI, he studies animal learning in psychologist Ed Wasserman's comparative cognition lab.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500