MLB Releases More Tracking Data, Names Product

Back in March, Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced the formation of a new product that looked like the data-capturing system of our dreams. It was more concept than product, however, and 2014 was essentially going to be a year long beta test, with just three stadiums outfitted with the technology. While the system looks amazing, it hadn’t even yet been named.

That changed today, with this tweet from MLB.

We welcome our new StatCast overlords.

Here are the two new plays with StatCast data that have been released.

Yasiel Puig‘s insane catch.

Andrew McCutchen‘s only-slightly-less insane catch.

StatCast has the potential to revolutionize the way we evaluate baseball. There’s still so much we don’t know about the system and how it’s eventually going to affect the public discourse on the game, but it’s impossible to watch these clips and not get excited. It is a certainty that the scaling and rollout of data at this size will be challenging, and we don’t actually know what kind of information will make its way into the public sector.

But we can dream. And clips like this, along with an actual name for the product, make those dreams seem ever closer to reality.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


36 Responses to “MLB Releases More Tracking Data, Names Product”

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  1. tehzachatak says:

    That “route efficiency %” makes me tumescent

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  2. Matt says:

    Why is the units for acceleration seconds? Or is that the length of time they are accelerating for?

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    • neastws says:

      Speculating from previous clips they’ve shared, but I believe it means “seconds from first step to top speed”

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      • AK7007 says:

        That’s what I assumed – and holy hell was that a lot of hang time on that fly ball.

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      • Garrett says:

        Of course, seconds from first step to top speed is a terrible way of measuring acceleration.

        Jose Molina’s acceleration could very well be better than Yasiel Puig’s, if only because his top speed is so close to his his starting speed, of zero.

        You can kind of imagine why MLB would go with that, though. I don’t imagine players accelerate smoothly directly to their top speed. I imagine they accelerate faster immediately when they start running, and then asymptotically approach their top speed.

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        • 123456frank says:

          since it gives you top speed also, that shouldn’t be an issue you. makes sense….an average speed would probably be helpful too though, that’s what really matters.

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        • Westside guy says:

          I expect the leaderboard for this stat will be headed by Jesus Montero.

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  3. S. Urista says:

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

    Kan I haz moar StatCast P0RN Plz

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  4. Eminor3rd says:

    Seriously. This is incredible. Incredible.

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  5. Jeff G says:

    This is superbly awesome. Typical, however, that as a Mets fan I had to watch these two catches again against my team. Mets pleasure is never far from Mets pain.

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  6. Bats Left, Throws Right says:

    MLBAM probably won’t release them, but I’m dying to see poor defensive plays get the StatCast treatment. Those should be much more enlightening.

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    • dragnalus says:

      Agreed. I’d like to see what an ineffecient routelooks like and what kind of percentage it’s assigned, if only for context to appreciate these 97+% routes.

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    • Marsupial Jones says:

      I really doubt there would be much difference in a “bad” route because even a bad route is just point A to point B in as straight of a line as possible. Its pretty hard to deviate TOO much.

      Unless the fielder does something ridiculous I doubt you would ever see it drop below, say, 90%.

      But thats just my uneducated hunch.

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      • Scott says:

        I’m no physicist, but a bad route isn’t A–>B in a straight line, it’s A–>B in an arc, or an angulated run, or something like that. Only the 100% efficient routs are lines; I’m assuming the “route efficiency” is something like 100-[(distance run)-(length of ideal line)/(length of ideal line)].

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        • Bo Jackson says:

          That wouldn’t work in very unusual cases. I think it might be just (Length of Ideal Line)/(Distance run).

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      • Westside guy says:

        You obviously didn’t watch any Mariners games from 2010-2013.

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  7. Catoblepas says:

    good god that mccutchen efficiency

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  8. Philbert says:

    This is amazing. Looking at the numbers on those plays alone, it seems like it has the potential to take defensive statistics to the next level by basically making every play 100% objective.

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  9. Marsupial Jones says:

    I dont know if its possible to really emphasize what a huge advance this potentially is.

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  10. joser says:

    I wonder how many million dollars MLB is going to charge sites like Fangraphs to license their data.

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  11. John Frank says:

    need it expanded to more parks. Oakland, Houston ?

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  12. Dustin says:

    #38 Michael Morse, LF
    First Step: 1.89 SEC
    Acceleration: #DIV/0!

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  13. Fujikawa-Bunga says:

    Woh. I imagine it’s only a matter of time until this is data is packaged into a product offering by someone. I’ll say 2 years before we start seeing it used on this site lol.

    Can’t wait for new STAT ACRONYMS!

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  14. attgig says:

    of course they’re both robbing mets batters…. *sigh* so it goes for a life of a mets fan.

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  15. Matty Brown says:

    i think i just got a boner

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  16. frivoflava29 says:

    Holy

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  17. maqman says:

    This leaves every defender naked in front of the whole world.

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  18. Edgar4Evar says:

    It looks like the days of some of the advanced defensive stats are numbered. Why use UZR when you can just take an average of an outfielder’s route efficiency for every ball hit his direction? That kind of a number is likely to stabilize over a much shorter sample than UZR.

    Of course this assumes public access to all of this data.

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  19. Phantom Stranger says:

    People realize the numbers may not be comparable between parks? It’s easier to run in some parks than others due to the turf/grass/etc. I suspect we’ll see systemic variances between parks with the same players. They can call that system StatCast+

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