MLB Advanced Media Launching Revolutionary Data Gathering Program

MLB Advanced Media announced today the launching of a new data gathering system to eventually be implemented in every MLB ballpark.

The new tracking system will gather data on every play of every game. For this year, systems will be ready in Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Citi Field, with every team getting systems by 2015.

The technology could revolutionize even further the way executives look at baseball. Hit F/x tools were already available for teams (for them to acquire on their own), but giving every team this technology is significant. We have heard, but not known too much about, Hit F/x and Field F/x.

The program could help teams evaluate players in a much more objective way than ever before. For example, fielders can now see the exact route they ran to a fly ball, how far their direct path to the baseball was, and how efficient their route was. Fielder speed and acceleration can also be evaluated, among other things. This could be especially important for positioning fielders as new data could, in theory, pinpoint the exact weaknesses of certain fielders, allowing the coaches to adjust accordingly.

Previous forms of this technology for hitter has already leaked out a bit, including through ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, in which fans can look at elevation angles and velocity of the ball for every home run hit.This new system will extend that to every batted ball, giving possibly even more information. Instead of relying on a 70 year old’s set of eyes watching from 50 feet away, batters, fielders, and pitchers can now see exactly what happened and exactly what they could have done better.

Dodgers All-Star Steve Sax praised the new system to MLB.com’s Mark Newman, saying: “Really, the future of baseball and able to quantify the great things about this game is here now. For players and coaches alike, to be able to judge distances and speeds and ranges and how fast people get there is just an amazing tool that they’re going to be able to use going forward. I just wish they had this when I played.”

It will be fascinating to see how MLB teams either hide or publicize this new data. Pitch F/x has been around for a few years and proven to be a very useful tool. However, recent technological advancements have been kept under wraps away from the public eye. Hopefully this data, or at least some of it, will be available to the public to dissect so they themselves can expand their analysis of the game.

About Connor O'Brien 312 Articles
Connor O'Brien is a second-year economics student in the Rutgers University Honors College, a lifelong Mets fan, and an editor here at MetsMerized Online. He embraces a sabermetric point of view in his articles, but doesn't believe this conflicts with scouting or player development. Follow him on Twitter @connor_obrien97
  • XtreemIcon

    Pretty excited about this. Maybe this new technology will assist to solidify quantifying defense. It might even lead to new metrics on efficiency as far as the routes taken and such.

  • Not sure exactly how the Mets got chosen to be one of the first teams to have access to this new technology. Then again…I guess sometimes it pays being BFFs with the Commish. I just hope this means we stop putting Duda in the OF.

  • Connor O’Brien

    That is exactly where it seems this will help the most.

  • Joey D.

    Thanks Connor,

    This will certainly provide everyone with more detailed information about their strengths and weaknesses. This will be like giving coaches and players bionic eyes and computer processing chips in their brains (robo-coach). At the same time it might very well confirm what the player does well and does not need to be changed (for example, the path he takes going for the ball as you cite).

    But you must recognize the way in which this new data and the analysis derived from it is going to possibly revolutionize the game – in providing much more reference information for learning and game preparation. Though it will also be quite interesting to see if a new technique to the art of fielding, base running, stealing, holding the runner, etc. is discovered – or that perhaps it is recognized that a return to an older way of doing certain things is more advantegous instead – that will still deal with mechanics. Metrics is a whole other issue. Many of us believe applying theories based on advanced metrics on the way the game should be played in approach and strategy has been counter-productive like we’ve seen with batting averages, walks and run production going down the past three seasons while the amount of strikeouts has increased – due to the statistical belief that the more pitches one gets the more opportunity there will be to either get a good pitch to hit or get a walk rather than make an out. The amount of strikeouts to walks has been the highest ever recorded in a century.

    The same with Brian Kenny’s contention (shared by Bill James) that the stats show that any good reliever can be a closer though we’ve seen too many very good set up men unable to cut it as closers because they do not have the emotional make up for it (remember how relief pitchers talk about needing to know exactly what their role is to be? They feel uncomfortable not knowing what type of situation they could be expected to come into).

    So just like medicine and science, I’m glad to see sports coming into the 21st century as well. It’s a long way from the days of studying film in slow motion. But I do hope that some of the information derived is not taken in the wrong manner to mean something more than what it is intended to show.

  • BarnRat

    Connor, not knowing anything about this except for your article (I’m a Luddite, but thanks); does this give a competitive advantage to the 3 teams utilizing this in 2014?

  • SRT

    I like it. No such thing as too much data.

  • metFAN660

    If they had this in the ’80s, Keith Hernandez would have made the HOF 1st ballot.

  • Connor O’Brien

    It may. Hopefully the Mets will be able to immediately utilize this data. If they can then it may give them an advantage in evaluating their own players.