Sports Analytics Conference: Breaking down MLB defense

Sports Analytics Conference: Breaking down MLB defense
March 10, 2014, 8:45 pm
Share This Post

Our own Bob Neumeier was joined by MLB Advanced Media's Bob Bowman at the Sports Analytics Conference to discuss defensive analytics that MLB will introduce this season.

If you're into baseball and into numbers, hold on to your glasses - this sounds pretty cool.

Basically, the way in which we judge players in the field could change forever.

"We've outfitted all of our parks, our 30 ball packs, with radar and sort of binocular cameras," Bowman said. "They replicate what your eyes do, so they can actually gather all this data and synthesize it in real time like your eyes do when you look at things in three dimensions.

"And we're going to be able to capture all the defensive plays so how fast the center fielder moves to the ball, how fast his jump was, whether or not he took the right route, did he go in a straight line or did he kind of go in a curved route. Those three things all analigate into whether or not he's going to catch the ball in addition to how fast the ball is going to get out there. So we're going to be able to sort of add stats, but not finish the arguments about who's got the better defensive center fielder, who's the best shortstop. We'll now give some empirical evidence to who can jump better, who can field better."

They'll also be able to break down how fast infielders can get rid of the ball from their glove.

All this information will benefit fans who want to have a greater understanding of what players do out in the field and just how good - or bad - they are at it.

"What we hope to do with these defensive stats is let the fan be a GM, let the fan be a manager," Bowman said. "This is what the manager sees. He knows a good jump instinctively. He knows the speed of his players. We're going to be able to give the fan the same information the manager has."

To see more interviews from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, click here.