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Big Data's Impact on Baseball

Big Data & Professional Baseball

Playing an increasingly larger role in a broad array of businesses, big data continues to make its impact in Major League Baseball – a phenomenon captured in "Moneyball," a 2003 book by Michael Lewis and a movie by the same name.

"Moneyball" chronicled the groundbreaking data-driven approach to building a winning baseball team by Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane.

On Wednesday, CNBC and Yahoo! Finance kicked off "Big Data Download," a daily digital program that taps into the "Big Data" revolution.

On "Fast Money," Paul DePodesta said that the national pastime was experiencing a focus on data to a new degree.

"I think it's influencing the entire industry, really. Baseball, like a lot of other industries, has a fundamental characteristic of uncertainty," he said. "We want to know the future, and we don't know it."

DePodesta, vice president of player development and scouting for the New York Mets and a major character in "Moneyball," said that the trick was separating chance from ability.

"We're trying to predict the future performance of human beings, oftentimes in situations that those people themselves haven't even encountered," he said. "One of the things we really need to do is the skill from the luck."

DePodesta cited "The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing," a book by Michael Mauboussin of Credit Suisse in the idea that "skill is more repeatable than the luck."

"If there's a guy who hit .300 out there, we need to determine whether or not he's truly a .300 hitter or whether or not it was a one-time occurrence," DePodesta said.

Baseball statistics are by no means new, he added, going back more than 100 years, but there is a new focus on handling the data in new ways.

"So, while all this data presents real opportunities, it also presents some significant challenges that need to be worked through both very seriously and very diligently," he said.

Visit bigdata.cnbc.com for more.