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
1k5v3L
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
(1906 - 12:58am, Sep 22)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogIt's not the full moon that excites OMNICHATTER! for Sept. 21, 2018
(86 - 12:58am, Sep 22)
Last: Bote Man the walk-off king

NewsblogRed Sox Fan Dies Climbing On Top of Train Leaving Yankee Stadium
(17 - 12:56am, Sep 22)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT - 2018 NBA Thread (Pre-Season Edition)
(509 - 12:36am, Sep 22)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

Gonfalon CubsThe Final Push
(157 - 12:32am, Sep 22)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogJeff Banister fired as Texas Rangers manager
(9 - 11:39pm, Sep 21)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogMarlins CEO Derek Jeter: Don Mattingly 'under contract' for 2019
(13 - 10:49pm, Sep 21)
Last: Ziggy's screen name

Sox TherapyIT’S OVER
(5 - 10:29pm, Sep 21)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

NewsblogAddison Russell’s Ex-Wife Releases Detailed Allegations Of Abuse
(47 - 9:33pm, Sep 21)
Last: Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66)

NewsblogSimon - Why Does Bryce Harper Have -25 Defensive Runs Saved?
(9 - 8:39pm, Sep 21)
Last: RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball

NewsblogHall of Famer John Smoltz says MLB needs an overhaul and proposes drastic changes
(67 - 8:23pm, Sep 21)
Last: RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-21-2018
(22 - 8:11pm, Sep 21)
Last: RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball

NewsblogJoe Maddon is angry with MLB over Cubs weather-impacted schedule
(61 - 6:58pm, Sep 21)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogCain stars in Directional Outs Above Average
(15 - 5:16pm, Sep 21)
Last: Batman

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (2018-19 season begins!)
(820 - 3:57pm, Sep 21)
Last: I am going to be Frank

Page rendered in 0.2318 seconds
46 querie(s) executed