Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How Tracking Technology Helped Baseball’s Best Fielding Outfielder - WSJ

Byron Buxton, the human vacuum cleaner who patrols center field for the Minnesota Twins, reached a frightening conclusion last winter: Even with his sprinter’s speed, superhuman instincts and unparalleled fearlessness around the wall, his defense could still be better.

He arrived at that belief thanks in part to Statcast, Major League Baseball’s sophisticated player-tracking technology that counts Buxton as perhaps its prototype player. With data provided by Statcast and the Twins’ coaching staff, Buxton learned that his first step—how quickly he reacts after the ball connects with the bat—wasn’t as quick as he would have liked.

So over the offseason, he spent a couple weeks at his old high school in Baxley, Ga., focusing intensely on trying to improve an area that not long ago couldn’t have been quantified.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2017 at 03:21 PM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: byron buxton, statcast

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: September 20, 2017 at 05:55 PM (#5535385)
It's funny. We've been talking about defensive metrics for years, and how iffy they are in describing the action. The tools we have to measure defense do a really...I don't want to say poor job; maybe incomplete is a better term.

But with the advent of Statcast, I bet in 5 years or less we'll have so much good defensive info that we'll be as confident in defensive metrics as we are today in offensive metrics.
   2. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 20, 2017 at 06:34 PM (#5535399)
Not sure I am willing to give him the title belt for best OFer just yet. But the jump in his defensive numbers is certainly eye popping. Going from +3 in 773 innings, to +26 in 1069... Whatever he did, it seems to have worked, at least according to the advanced fielding metrics we have.

Would be interesting to see, how exactly he improved his first step. And what other work he put in. Alas, the full article requires signing up, so I guess we will never know.
   3. Sunday silence Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:24 PM (#5535419)
The tools we have to measure defense do a really...I don't want to say poor job; maybe incomplete is a better term.


The two leading metrics by BIS and totalzone or whatever, are quite often miles apart in their evaluations, so I dont know if its incomplete or just ambiguous.

I bet in 5 years or less we'll have so much good defensive info that we'll be as confident in defensive metrics as we are today in offensive metrics.


its also possible with more data the results will simply become more ambiguous. For example I can see a future where fielders are rated for: Quickness, Range, consistency etc.

Fielder A (who scores well on the first two) might be the only one with a chance to get a long fly ball up against the wall, whereas fielder B might be a better choice for a routine fly ball.

I never fail to be impressed by how certain we are about offensive metrics. No one ever questions whether slugger A got more hanging curve balls served up to him when leading the league in HRs, ba etc. Because: "IT ALL EVENS OUT MORE OR LESS...

BUt mention fielding range and immediately you get shouts of "ground ball pitchers" "park effects" etc.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Backlasher
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 2018 September 17: How Brett Kavanaugh explains his baseball ticket debt
(2139 - 2:51pm, Sep 23)
Last: perros

NewsblogTickets available as Marlins host Reds
(22 - 2:49pm, Sep 23)
Last: Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant

NewsblogWeekend OMNICHATTER for September 22-23, 2018
(95 - 2:49pm, Sep 23)
Last: Spahn Insane

NewsblogOT - 2018 NBA Thread (Pre-Season Edition)
(530 - 2:32pm, Sep 23)
Last: Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean

NewsblogDodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig burglarized for the fourth time
(10 - 1:36pm, Sep 23)
Last: Bote Man the walk-off king

Gonfalon CubsThe Final Push
(164 - 1:36pm, Sep 23)
Last: Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com

NewsblogFive Tool Players | Articles | Bill James Online
(1 - 1:33pm, Sep 23)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (2018-19 season begins!)
(825 - 12:26pm, Sep 23)
Last: AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther

NewsblogWainwright impresses Giants' Bochy
(13 - 12:09pm, Sep 23)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogHall of Famer John Smoltz says MLB needs an overhaul and proposes drastic changes
(85 - 11:59am, Sep 23)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogJeff Banister fired as Texas Rangers manager
(12 - 11:55am, Sep 23)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

NewsblogAddison Russell’s Ex-Wife Releases Detailed Allegations Of Abuse
(66 - 11:37am, Sep 23)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (September 2018)
(383 - 10:56am, Sep 23)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogOT - August/September 2018 College Football thread
(282 - 10:07am, Sep 23)
Last: dlf

NewsblogDetroit Tigers' Victor Martinez: Saturday will be final game of career
(16 - 6:51am, Sep 23)
Last: Cooper Nielson

Page rendered in 0.2298 seconds
46 querie(s) executed