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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Do MLB Teams Undervalue Defense — Or Just Value It Differently? | FiveThirtyEight

Whether because of Statcast or scouting, the Cubs and now the Cardinals have seen something in Fowler’s performance that current fielding valuations don’t seem to capture. And when two of the smartest front offices in baseball appear to be discarding defensive metrics, it makes you stop and wonder whether the metrics might just be wrong.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 19, 2017 at 08:38 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, defense, sabermetrics, statcast

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Statcast introduces new sprint speed metric | MLB.com

Top 2016 Sprint Speed by outfielders
29.8 feet per second—Hamilton
29.7 feet per second—Buxton
29.1 feet per second—Lorenzo Cain
29.0 feet per second—Paulo Orlando
28.7 feet per second—Jake Marisnick
28.6 feet per second—Gregory Polanco / Travis Jankowski / Max Kepler
28.3 feet per second—Christian Yelich
28.2 feet per second—Kevin Kiermaier

Jim Furtado Posted: April 18, 2017 at 10:48 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Statcast 2017 preview for all 30 MLB teams | MLB.com

This is no prank. Statcast articles for every team for all my friends.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 01, 2017 at 09:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Friday, March 31, 2017

Statcast ranking of top defensive outfielders | MLB.com

More great stuff.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 31, 2017 at 08:43 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: fielding, statcast

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Statcast says Miguel Cabrera may be underrated | MLB.com

More great Statcast stuff.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2017 at 06:51 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel cabrera, statcast

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dodgers’ pitchers rate well in Statcast metric | MLB.com

Lowest estimated OPS in 2016
.438—Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
.450—Andrew Miller, Yankees/Indians
.456—Zach Britton, Orioles
.471—Grant Dayton, Dodgers
.487—Aroldis Chapman, Yankees/Cubs
.491—Alex Reyes, Cardinals
.508—Shawn Kelley, Nationals
.515—Dellin Betances, Yankees
.517—Kershaw, Dodgers
.526—Seung Hwan Oh, Cardinals

Jim Furtado Posted: March 25, 2017 at 08:48 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, statcast

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Outfield Defense: Does the Team Make the Player or Does the Player Make the Team?

A look at team outfield defense using Statcast.

Jason Heyward’s impact on the defending champion Cubs is clearly present through these numbers, but did not necessarily make his center field neighbor a better defender. But perhaps the difference in left fielder made an impact, in the other direction, on Dexter Fowler as well.
In Baltimore, Adam Jones performed worse when partnered with Mark Trumbo. However, other components may be at play — like Jones’ age curve.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 21, 2017 at 06:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rays, Reds lead Statcast outfield highlights | MLB.com

If you like great catches, Statcast has found some of the best.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 18, 2017 at 08:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Statcast’s New Defensive Metrics and Seattle’s Glove-First Outfield | U.S.S. Mariner

. I used his averages and calculated plays made above average for each player in 2015 and 2016, and then I looked at how their chances were distributed. That is, some players (Jackie Bradley, Jr.) saw proportionally more extremely difficult opportunities, while others (Kevin Kiermaier) saw fewer. The plays on the Statcast leaderboards apparently don’t include the absolutely never missed, can of corn, 100% probability balls. At least, that’s my guess just from noting that the sum of each players chances across all 5 buckets totals a fraction of their overall chances/putouts as reported elsewhere. If true, that means that the plays that really separate defenders are in a few not-terribly-large buckets in the ranges where catches are made 25-50% of the time or so. Given THAT, I’m pretty impressed with how reliable these numbers look. Kiermaier, Lorenzo Cain, Ender Inciarte, etc. look great both years despite varying playing time, opportunities, etc.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2017 at 06:12 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, statcast

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Let’s Play With New Defensive Data | FanGraphs Baseball

I’m not sure there’s a surprise in the bunch. Which is probably more of a good sign than a bad one — one wouldn’t think we’ve been completely wrong all this time. For as much as people have openly criticized the advanced defensive numbers, I think the bulk of the disagreement has centered on infield play, especially in the age of infielders moving around all over the place. We’ve long had a pretty good grasp on the outfield, I think. Statcast here mostly supports the information we already had. Kevin Kiermaier? Amazing! Billy Hamilton? Amazing! Keon Broxton? You better believe he’s amazing!

Maybe one way of interpreting this is as further evidence that Kiermaier has been better out there than Kevin Pillar. I know that’s been fiercely debated, but Statcast knows more than most of us do. There’s still room for these numbers to be adjusted, so Blue Jays fans can continue to take some heart. Travis Jankowski has apparently got it. Peter Bourjos has apparently still got it.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 14, 2017 at 02:56 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Billy Hamilton is a Statcast highlight reel | MLB.com

I’m not sure this is the right breakdown. As he said, “how can you make a great play if the opportunity to make a great play doesn’t exist first? Of those 116, 44 didn’t make a single Five-Star play.” Wouldn’t a better look be percentage of five-star catches in five-star opportunities be a better comparison?

For this sample, we’re looking at the 116 outfielders who had at least 100 total outfield chances and at least 10 Five-Star chances, because, after all, how can you make a great play if the opportunity to make a great play doesn’t exist first? Of those 116, 44 didn’t make a single Five-Star play.

Percentage of Five-Star plays made
38 percent—Hamilton
36 percent—Travis Jankowski
30 percent—Kevin Kiermaier
27 percent—Eaton / Scott Schebler
25 percent—Rajai Davis
24 percent—Inciarte / Byron Buxton / Lonnie Chisenhall

While this is a good proxy for great outfield defense, it’s also not the entire picture, either. Chisenhall, for example, did make a handful of outstanding plays—here he is robbing Starlin Castro on an 8 percent Catch Probability play in July—but he also made only a single Four-Star play, while Hamilton made 15. Schebler didn’t make any Three-Star plays, while Hamilton made 15 more of those, too. Like on offense, consistency matters.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 09, 2017 at 07:15 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Statcast’s impact on baseball has been considerable

Bring it on!

“[The dialogue change has happened] in some sense a little more quickly than I would have thought. Two years in baseball time is very little,” said Mike Petriello, an analyst for MLB.com who is in many ways the site’s voice of Statcast. “Exit velocity took off very quickly. It’s very easy to understand. It’s ubiquitous. You see it in a lot of in-stadium scoreboards now. You see guys talking about it constantly now. Kris Bryant talks about exit velocity and launch angle. Mark Trumbo has talked about his launch angle. … It’s informing the way the game is being talked about and also [how it’s being played] on the field.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2017 at 03:37 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Fixing Batted-Ball Statistics with Statcast – The Hardball Times

Everything you wanted to know about line drivers but were afraid to ask.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2017 at 08:32 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Monday, March 06, 2017

Statcast and the Future of WAR | FanGraphs Baseball

I’ve argued about this for 20 years. The MVP question and the best player question are two entirely different things. Using WAR for either conflates the two. Why not transform WAR into a purely contextual answer (value) and continue to define results in runs and wins based on outcome and then use Statcast probabilities as a scouting tool for the best player question? In my mind, using Statcast as the inputs on an improved 20/80 scouting scale and apportioning all the components properly would be a wonderful upgrade to what’s done now. It would also put teams on a better path for projections as they will be able to better quantify aging patterns in a more realistic way.

This tension between what happened, how it affected the scoreboard, and how much credit to give to players for things they don’t control is a difficult thing to resolve. And now that we’re getting even more granular metrics about a player’s contribution to outcomes, these questions are going to continue to be relevant. Knowing the guys at MLBAM on a personal level, I’m pretty comfortable with the fact that they’ll handle these questions thoughtfully, and if (or when?) they do produce an MLB.com WAR model, it will be with all of these questions answered as well as they feel they can.

But while Statcast holds a lot of promise for improving the pitching and defensive sides of the components, getting ever-more granular hitting data might force us to again ask what we want WAR to be, and what the goal of the model is. There is no obvious right answer here, and that’s one of the reasons there will always be multiple ways of calculating WAR.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2017 at 01:48 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast, war

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Statcast wants to change how we’re consuming baseball games

BAM wants anyone interested to understand from whence its WAR came. So the idea is for a tree – one that allows a click or tap on the overall number, which then branches into components (offensive, defensive, baserunning, etc.) that show his overall value in each. From there comes a breakdown of more subcategories, and subs of subs, and on until piecing together WAR isn’t so daunting.

They’re also toying with the idea of an alternative presentation for their WAR. Even though the current one correlates quite strongly with overall victories in a season when adding up individual WAR contributions from each team, BAM’s audience is different than the B-R/FanGraphs niche. BAM could, for example, judge players on a 1-to-100 scale using the same criteria as another would for WAR.

“There’s an argument to be made for putting out an extra scale,” Petriello said.

“What will make our version of WAR intriguing,” Willman said, “is the way we’re going to make it accessible.”

Not just with WAR, Tango said, but all of Statcast: “We’re in the third inning.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2017 at 01:59 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbam, statcast

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mets top 2017 Statcast fastball velocity ranks | MLB.com

Mets, Mets, Mets.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2017 at 07:52 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, statcast

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Twins project for strongest 2017 outfield arms | MLB.com

More wonderful Statcast stuff.

So the way we’ve identified “competitive throws” is to identify a player’s 90th percentile arm strength, and then take the average of all throws above the 90th percentile, as a good proxy for tracking only throws where a fielder was trying to make play with some urgency. Of the 107 outfielders who had at least 10 such throws last year, Aaron Hicks’ average of 99.4 mph was baseball’s best (remember this?), and Khris Davis’ average of 72.5 mph was the weakest. That’s a big gap, yet it passes the eye test.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2017 at 07:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, statcast

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Routine plays are probably underrated - Beyond the Box Score

The distinct separation between Pederson’s starting points, marked by the bright blue dots, indicate a clear directive to differentiate between hitters (probably by simple handedness), and virtually every chart shows fielders adjusting their depth, within a range, based on who’s hitting.

How big are the gaps between those little dots? I’m not totally sure. But 15 or 20 feet of ground, gained more than a hundred times a season, adds up to something worth measuring.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2017 at 08:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fielding, statcast

Monday, February 06, 2017

Jim Bowden quote on analytics and metrics impacting managers

Analytics and metrics are really helping MLB teams quantify defensive abilities and along with their scouting eyes are encouraging managers to align their outfielders better than ever before. This has been highlighted by the Marlins decision to move Yelich to CF and Ozina to LF & Pirates intention of moving Marte to CF and McCutchen to LF. Who else should make a similar move? The Rockies should move Dahl to CF and Blackmon to LF.

Jim Bowden, ESPN Senior Writer

Jim Furtado Posted: February 06, 2017 at 07:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, statcast

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Polanco, Correa could have healthy breakouts | MLB.com

This is a great use of Statcast data.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 04, 2017 at 09:23 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Monday, January 30, 2017

Turner, Sanchez not played deep for sluggers | MLB.com

More interesting Statcast info.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 30, 2017 at 01:38 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ryan Zimmerman hits hard but needs to add lift | MLB.com

I would have liked to see a comparison to his 2014-2015 results. (If I have time later today, I check out their handy new tool to investigate myself.) Anyway, this suggests it wasn’t a physical issue but was mechanical. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff helps him correct the problem.

Though he hit the ball hard, Zimmerman had a pretty low launch angle, which is to say he was hitting hard-hit grounders. When viewed in this context, his numbers above make a lot more sense. While the Major League average for all batted balls 95 mph and up was .538, the average for batted balls 95 mph with a launch angle of 10 degrees and under was .470—just about exactly the .476 Zimmerman had.

So Zimmerman is doing himself no favors by putting his hard-hit balls on the ground, but he’s not being unfairly penalized for them, either. The real problem here, as it turns out, isn’t just what happens when he hits the ball hard. It’s what happens when he doesn’t. As we said before, 51.6 percent of Zimmerman’s batted balls go more than 95 mph. That means just more than 48 percent do not. If hard-hit balls on the ground aren’t helping Zimmerman out as much as you’d think, you can imagine what softly-hit balls on the ground are doing.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: ryan zimmerman, statcast

Monday, January 09, 2017

Can New Technology Bring Baseball’s Data Revolution to Fielding? - NYTimes.com

Great article on Statcast.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2017 at 01:45 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Byron Buxton Player Page | baseballsavant.com

OK, this is crazy great.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 05, 2017 at 09:47 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: byron buxton, statcast

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

What Statcast spin rate means for fastballs | MLB.com

Although I’d don’t believe it’s possible with the current technology, one stat which would be great to see for pitchers is something that measures the time a hitter gets a clear look at the ball during the pitcher’s delivery. Everybody who has played knows batters get better looks at some pitchers more than others. To me this is the last important piece of the pitching puzzle that needs to be measured to quantify a pitcher’s stuff.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 03, 2017 at 04:38 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

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