Journal of Productivity Analysis

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 51-59

First online:

Is the small-ball strategy effective in winning games? A stochastic frontier production approach

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Since the Japanese National Baseball team won the inaugural World Baseball Classic, “small ball” has been accepted, at least by the media, as a mainstream form of baseball management in Korea. Small ball refers to a manager’s active intervention or strategy implementation in baseball games. In general, the frequency of managers’ orders for play actions such as a sacrifice bunt is higher in Asian baseball than in North American baseball. This paper attempts to statistically test the hypothesis that small ball is effective in winning games by using data from Korean baseball. The panel data analysis of a stochastic production frontier model presents somewhat mixed empirical results, but the overall evidence suggests that small ball actually has detrimental effects on the number of runs scored.


Baseball Stochastic production frontier Small ball Technical efficiency Panel data

JEL Classification

D21 L83 M12