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.