MLBAM and new stats
Reading my latest copy of Baseball America, I came across this in an Alan Schwarz interview of MLB Advanced Media (they run MLB.com for MLB) CEO Bob Bowman, and there was this update on something I thought had been forgotten:
AS: Several years ago, you said your grand plan to outfit every stadium with a multicamera system that would capture both pitch and hit speeds and trajectories, allowing for all sorts of new data on which to rate players [sic]. What is the status of that?
BB: We tested the program, it works great. I anticipate that we will embark on starting to install devices in parks this year, even this baseball season. Our only hope is that the cameras that we put in there will be able to capture and distribute the data in real time. I would anticipate that we would have an announcement on what we’re going to do certainly by September.
Duuuuude. The possibilities are immense. The ability to look at fielder ranges in composite, for instance, and compare them, to see that one second baseman is great on slow-hit balls anywhere but can’t go to their glove hand on line drives, or… defensive metrics have always been the worst statistical tools we have, and while I don’t yet know how you’d turn positional, speed, and even route information into a stat, the opportunity would be awesome.
I don’t like MLB.com, which has started playing video highlights every time I load whether I want them or not. I didn’t like that putting all the sites on one page stifled team innovation, because the Mariners were ahead of other teams but also because it meant that team sites had personalities. But MLBAM has done some great things in making advanced stats available to fans along with hit charts and good stuff of that nature, and I’m all for advancing fan knowledge and research in general.
This thing could be truly, deeply cool if it’s done well. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.