It has become a little bit cool to look down on technology. You all have them, friends or family or co-workers, who ‘aren’t tied to a smart phone’ or ‘don’t spend much time on the internet’. You know the ones that ask you if the Royals won last night before you have your first cup of coffee. You can find out on your own, you know, using the internet…on your smart phone…genius. Those flip-phoners touting that they live in ‘the real world’ are not going to be excited by the arrival of Statcast. I, however, am eager to see it in action.
This link is to a brief explanation of what Statcast brings to the table and how it is being rolled out by MLB. The glossary of terms gives you an idea of the types of things Statcast will measure. For those like me who utilize advanced stats, but don’t devour them, there is going to be an overwhelming amount of data to digest early on. I cannot imagine the hot mess that the Royals television crew will make of this data as it comes online for the regional networks later this year. Say what you want about Rex Hudler, good or bad, but I doubt anyone wants him delving into the nuances of the hitting vector (or horizontal launch direction into five equal zones of 18 degrees each for those of you scoring at home).
Probably the most anticipated portion of this new toy comes in the measurement of fielding. Nothing can generate debate more than fielding metrics – any of them, advanced or traditional. Statcast’s measuring of how much distance a fielder covers to field a batted ball, the efficiency of the route of an outfielder, time elapsed turning the pivot on a double play and many others will give smart and flip phoners alike a whole new data set about which to argue. Will it settle the debate about defense? I’m not sure, but it seems like it ought to get us all a lot closer to the answer.
Major League teams have had access to this data for some period of time now and I wonder if the Royals’ decision to keep Lorenzo Cain in center and let Jarrod Dyson play right (or left) was actually based less on getting Cain a Gold Glove and more on his Route Efficiency. Speculation, obviously, but worth keeping in the back of your mind.
Open your mind and jump in.
About last night…
Took in the Royals game via the Crown Seats last night, making the three hour drive down and back up in the dark worth the journey. In doing so, I witnessed a workmanlike 7-1 drubbing of the Twins who, by the way, really play horrible defense.
With every game, Alex Gordon seems to be getting better contact on the ball and better overall at-bats. He is right now, closing in on the 35 or so plate appearances he missed in Spring Training and, assuming the wrist continues to stay strong, would seem to be rounding into form. That is a good sign as some inevitable correction is due to some others in the Royals’ lineup. That is not a criticism of anyone, just the simple point that Lorenzo Cain is not going to hit .400 this year. A healthy Gordon will go a long way to filling the offensive void as others fall back to earth.
Edinson Volquez, my goodness. Right now, he is the Royals’ best starting pitcher, but has had the advantage of facing the Twins twice. Still, he is one bad pitch away from three straight starts of allowing just one run. I think that is about all we can ask, right?
It was also nice, by the way, to see the Royals back to just playing baseball and not worrying about who hit whom and why. I enjoy and applaud the Royals’ non-traditional enthusiasm for the game, but too much emotion (i.e. too much worrying about retribution and not being disrespected) can wear you out. With four straight series against Central Division foes, now is the time to focus on the game, not what people are saying.