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Pitch Fx Newsbeat

Friday, April 28, 2017

Baseball’s New Pitch-Tracking System Is Just A Bit Outside

It all started the first weekend of the season, when observers noted some unusual pitch velocity readings from San Francisco Giants hurler Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner’s fastball was up almost two full miles per hour compared with last year; in a league where every tick matters, that reading could have meant a much better season for the Giants’ ace than expected. It wasn’t just Bumgarner: FanGraphs writer Dave Cameron quickly noticed that velocity numbers had jumped across the league. Days after the changes were noted, MLB data guru Tom Tango clarified in a blog post that the changeover from PITCHf/x to Statcast had altered the way pitch speed was recorded, making it appear that velocity had increased. An MLB Advanced Media spokesperson who requested not to be identified said “the transition saw unexpected issues that have been resolved,” but declined to comment further.

And tracking velocity was only the beginning of Statcast’s troubles. Real-time data from MLB’s Gameday app has been inconsistent or obviously erroneous in the season’s first month. Some days, it has gone missing altogether, only to reappear later without explanation. Statcast has always had gaps in its data, but in previous years, that missing information was limited to batted-ball velocity and launch angle. The pitch-tracking issues that cropped up this year are in dramatic contrast with those we saw from PITCHf/x, which tended to miss only a handful of throws a season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 28, 2017 at 02:55 PM | 2 comment(s)
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