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

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Dock Ellis
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread
(1899 - 4:00pm, Dec 11)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-11-2017
(18 - 3:57pm, Dec 11)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogMets have talked to teams about trading Matt Harvey: sources - NY Daily News
(5 - 3:56pm, Dec 11)
Last: Conor

NewsblogOTP 11 December, 2017 - GOP strategist: Moore would have 'date with a baseball bat' if he tried dating teens where I grew up
(279 - 3:55pm, Dec 11)
Last: zenbitz

NewsblogTexas Rangers: Shohei Ohtani or not, Rangers still considering nontraditional 6-man, 4-man rotations next season | SportsDay
(3 - 3:51pm, Dec 11)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: Winter Soccer Thread
(310 - 3:46pm, Dec 11)
Last: strong silence

NewsblogRyan Thibs has his HOF Ballot Tracker Up and Running!
(337 - 3:44pm, Dec 11)
Last: Baldrick

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(324 - 3:41pm, Dec 11)
Last: Kiko Sakata

Hall of MeritBattle of the Uber-Stat Systems (Win Shares vs. WARP)!
(375 - 3:36pm, Dec 11)
Last: Carl Goetz

NewsblogJack Morris, Alan Trammell elected to Hall | MLB.com
(110 - 3:32pm, Dec 11)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network)

Sox TherapyA Container of Milk, A Loaf of Bread and a Dude Who Can Hit Home Runs
(6 - 3:31pm, Dec 11)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine

NewsblogPeter Gammons: Splashes and notes from the Orlando Winter Meetings - GammonsDaily.com
(11 - 3:22pm, Dec 11)
Last: Batman

NewsblogTrade secrets: The key to covering baseball’s winter meetings is an adjoining door – The Athletic
(3 - 3:12pm, Dec 11)
Last: Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams)

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot
(19 - 2:22pm, Dec 11)
Last: ronw

NewsblogYankees in talks on Giancarlo Stanton trade
(196 - 2:18pm, Dec 11)
Last: 6 - 4 - 3

Page rendered in 0.2671 seconds
47 querie(s) executed