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Thursday, July 14, 2022

What you need to know about Statcast bat tracking

Technology to track the speed and path of bats is not exactly new; teams and swing coaches have been investing in bat sensors and other technology for years, primarily used in practice or laboratory or other non-game settings. It’s a near certainty that some teams have their own internal measures of bat speed; as we said, physicists have been working out optimal swing paths and ways to calculate swing speed for decades. In 2015, to pick one example of many, Dr. Alan Nathan went deep into the physics of it all. This is a new way to attack a very old question.

What’s different, then, is that this is in-game tracking, collected from real 2022 Major League Baseball action. It doesn’t require reverse engineering from exit velocity; it doesn’t require any gear on the bat. It just requires playing in a ballpark where the hardware is installed, just like any other metric you’re familiar with.

When Jazz Chisholm Jr., for example, mashed a Luis García four-seamer into right-center field for a two-run homer on June 10, you could have easily called up Baseball Savant and seen that the ball came off his bat at 100.6 mph and went a projected 399 feet. Now, you can also know that his swing was 94.1 mph (Sort of. We’ll get back to that.) You can know it was hit 4.5 inches from the end of the bat, that he squared it up 70% successfully, that it was hit 1.3 inches above the center line of the bat. There’s so much more to know than we already did. There always is.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 14, 2022 at 10:07 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bat tracking, statcast

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. Walt Davis Posted: July 14, 2022 at 03:57 PM (#6086723)
And his sleep score last night was 97.374 and his heart rate was 93 when the pitch was released and his bladder was 25% full.
   2. Jack Sommers Posted: July 15, 2022 at 01:56 AM (#6086784)

"He has tremendous bat speed", or "he consistently squares the ball up" are phrases that have been around forever. Now they can be measured and quantified. That's not a bad thing.

On top of that, hitters may be able to create better swing mechanics due to the ability to get instant feedback, just like other technologies did for pitchers and pitch design.

How it's presented publicly and what we do with that information will be far less meaningful.

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