We live in an age where information is immediately available and everything is analyzed to the smallest detail. Shows detailing the science behind plays and players that are bound to be legendary exist and are some of the most intriguing shows to watch. For those of us that say, “Player A is better than Player B,” there are now even more refined stats to either back up or refute the claim.
MLB.com and MLB Advanced Media is beginning to track stats that define exactly what makes what most casual fans call “a great play.” There were slight hints at this new “Player Tracking” before the season started, as MLBAM calculated the route, speed, direction, and angle that Jason Heyward took to make a diving catch on a ball hit to left-center field.
This technology has expanded, according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com, and now there is even more data available to analyze, critique and admire.
Will casual or even more-than-casual fans notice these new stats, these ultra-sabermetrics? Probably not. Those fans, though, along with all of baseball will see the change over the course of time as defensive alignments change by just inches, runners steal on catchers with less than stellar “pop times” or throwing velocities, exact hitting strategies are developed relative to arm slots, throwing angles, and pitch breaks, and of course, there is scouting.
While the technology is available only on a trial basis at Citi Field, home of the Mets, this kind of analysis will be coveted by baseball teams from the owners to the general managers to the players. Scouts in particular will now have far more information to decide which player, pro or amateur, will best compliment a coach’s style, a team’s philosophy, and even a stadium’s dimensions.
Baseball may seem like it’s behind the times in certain areas, but with this technology breaking out, the game is evolving to a whole different level.