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Jim Furtado
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Statcast Newsbeat

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

There’s Lots of Physics To Do Now That Hawk-Eye Is Up and Running

I just got done streaming the MLB Statcast Update from the 2020 SABR Analytics Conference.  Wow!  MLB’s baseball research analyst Jason Bernard, vice president of baseball data Greg Cain, baseball scientist Clay Nunnally, and director of baseball research and development Daren Willman shared the status, abilities, and potential of the new data collection system for Statcast called Hawk-Eye.

They reported that MLB has the new data collection system up and running in every park – a bright spot in an otherwise disturbingly messy offseason.  The previous measurement system was a hybrid of radar by Trackman and video technology from ChyronHego.  Hawk-Eye uses only video cameras to collect raw data and, most likely, a massive amount of state-of-the-art computing power to manipulate the flood of images into useful tools.

The new system has 12 cameras arranged around the ballpark.  Five of the cameras look at the area between the mound and home plate. You might recall the original SportVision (now SMT) system used only three.  These cameras are designed for pitch tracking as well as monitoring the pitcher, catcher, batter, and perhaps the umpire as well.  These 8-megapixel cameras collect 100 frames per second. The remaining seven cameras are 11-megapixel, 50 frames per second, and can track the motion of everyone on the field (fielders, runners, coaches, umpires and, who knows, crazed fans).  All told, the cameras generate 10 gigabits of data per second.

Preliminary measurements of strike zone accuracy indicate the position of the pitch can be detected to within, plus or minus, a fourth of an inch horizontally and even better vertically – slightly better than 2018 and 2019 results from the older method.  In regard to batted balls, where the older system was known for losing high fly balls and having to calculate the rest of the trajectory, Hawk-Eye is able to reacquire the trajectory of high fly balls that leave its field of view as the ball drops back down into camera range again.

A description of interest, for those curious as for how the sausage that is baseball data is made.


QLE Posted: March 17, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: data, statcast

Friday, February 07, 2020

What Infield OAA can tell us about Pitchers and Hitters – Bat Flips and Nerds

As we are only talking about plays which have a chance of being made, what this is saying is that the difficulty of fielding a harder-hit ball is countered by having longer to get the ball to first. And maybe countered so much that it is easier to get the out on a harder hit ball.

These models show clear differences between for LHH and RHH. Average exit velocity and overall shift percentage give little added value to the sprint speed RHH model. But for LHH, accounting for both definitely improves on the sprint speed LHH model, but still doesn’t bring it close to the sprint speed RHH model.

This is a very simplistic view of this data, and shifting as a whole, but it does seem to suggest that infielders may have had easier chances of getting left-handed hitters out when they were shifted more often. Which suggests from a fielding and positioning perspective, the shift might be working.

There is a large number of caveats for all of this work as we are just looking at high-level data and not individual plays, but this is something worth monitoring, especially if Baseball Savant keeps adding to what is available.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2020 at 07:30 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, defense, statcast

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The ‘alternative’ 2019 Gold Glove Award winners

Rawlings handed out its 2019 Gold Glove Awards back in November, but, with Statcast’s new infield defense metric released to the public, the temptation is too great not to take a fresh look at the best defender at each position.

With that in mind, we decided to identify the best defender at every position based on their 2019 Outs Above Average (OAA). Unlike with Gold Gloves, we are awarding only one “winner” per position as opposed to a winner for each league. (Note: The exceptions are pitchers and catcher, where we don’t have OAA. For catcher, we used a blend of Statcast’s catcher framing metrics to pick that spot. We did not select a pitcher.)

Infield OAA works in similar style to the outfield OAA you’re likely familiar with, considering the fielder’s time and distance while also accounting for the intricacies of the diamond dirt. Our winners for 2019 were certainly contenders for Rawlings’ Gold Gloves, but only two (Matt Olson and Nolan Arenado) took home the actual award. So our list below has some fresh variety.

Here are the best of the best

Every other award gets this sort of commentary- why not the Gold Gloves?

QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:11 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, gold gloves, statcast

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

A new way to measure MLB’s best infield defenders

I know what I’ll be doing the next few days.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 08, 2020 at 01:39 PM | 111 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, statcast

Saturday, December 21, 2019

What Defined MLB in the 2010s?

As the decade comes to a close, we’re left with plenty of MLB storylines to unpack over the last 10 years. In a loaded, perhaps impossible exercise, we asked our baseball staff to outline what defined the 2010s to them. Here’s to the 2020s.

So, how would all of you answer this question?


QLE Posted: December 21, 2019 at 01:01 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: 2010s, analytics, home runs, reviews, statcast, tanking, the sky is falling




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