Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced yesterday that starting in 2015 every major league ballpark will have a system in place to measure placement and speed of all objects on the ballfield. Now, if only they would do something about the lines to buy food. (Kidding. Actually they seem to have.)
It is unclear whether the new system will replace Pitch F/x. It is being tested this year in Minnesota, Milwaukee and at Citi Field in New York.
The story has a video clip showing Jason Heyward making a diving catch on a fly ball into the gap, then on the replay shows how hard and high the batter hit the ball and tracks Heyward has he runs, showing his distance run, speed and acceleration.
The promise of a system like this is that, once aggregated, the data will help us learn all sorts of new things about defensive abilities, defensive strategies, the value of speed and in all likelihood stuff we can’t even imagine now.
Besides it’s relationship to Pitch F/x, which has produced a lot of innovative research because it was available, and Hit and Field F/x, which were not, is the availability of the data to the baseball research community.
No doubt MLBAM will look for the system to pay for itself through team and media licenses, but the widespread distribution of data will help improve the system initially and spur innovative uses after that.