Category Archives: Data Sources

Field testing the motusTHROW

We went up to SmartKage headquarters in Tyngsboro, Mass., and put the sleeves on Nate, a local high school junior. We then fired up Motus Global’s bullpen mode – first in the new motusTHROW app, and then in the legacy mThrow app. At the app’s direction, Nate threw a mix of fastballs, curveballs, and changeups. A voice from the iPhone instructed him which pitch to throw, whether to throw from the windup or the stretch, and what part of the strike zone to aim for. Each of the two sessions consisted of 21 pitches, simultaneously tracked by SmartKage’s PITCHf/x system.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

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Testing the Axe Bat’s claims

Collaboration with Jeff Long and Dan Kopitzke

To date Baden Sports, the parent company of Axe Bat, says it has backed up these claims through ergonomic and biomechanical research. The most extensive study on their product, completed by a team at UCLA, exemplifies much of their support for these claims. You can read the results of that study as it applies to the claims above on their website here, and you can also read more details from the full study here.

We wanted to take it a step further though, performing an independent study in a real world setting. Specifically, we wanted to look at whether the Axe Bat stood up to the performance claims that they make.

Read the rest on Baseball Prospectus (my first article there!)

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2016 college baseball season preview

Last year, I introduced my open-source college baseball database (which I’ve recently updated), and showed a few example applications. I looked at win probabilities, how the new flatter seams helped increase offense, the stolen base breakeven point, and the value of bunting (honest).

But this time, I want to use someone else’s data. Chris Long (now with the Detroit Tigers) has his own collection of useful college baseball tools on his GitHub. Let’s use them to generate a season preview.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

World Baseball Classic qualifiers open in Sydney

Sixteen teams will compete in the tournament next spring. Twelve of those slots are already filled based on teams’ performance in 2013. The last four slots will be decided this spring and fall. Four double-elimination tournaments (each between four different countries) will be contested, with the winner advancing to the next round. A preview of each tournament featuring our Elo rankings is below.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

Won the Powerball? Invest in a baseball franchise

Greetings to you, the lucky finder of that golden ticket. You’ve won the largest lottery prize in the history of the planet, so naturally you’re very excited. But — not to be a buzzkill — things are about to get tricky. A study showed that 90 percent of lottery winners were broke 5 years later.

So once you’ve taken care of taxes and your favorite charities and whatever else, you’re going to need an investment strategy. Why not buy a baseball team? … Let’s run through the seven teams Forbes has valued under $850 million (56% of estimated winnings, enough to account for taxes), and see what your options are.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

Combining Technologies to Measure Swing Development

As hitters develop, their mechanics evolve over time into a swing that both shares many commonalities with other players and is unique to their own game. But tracking a player’s progress on that journey to a consistent swing has always been tricky. Scouting and video analysis can give players a sense of how repeatable their mechanics are, but these are expensive, time-consuming, and limited to players at the highest level, whom we would expect to already have the most consistent mechanics.

Enter technology. Technological developments, including inertial bat sensors and camera-based ball tracking systems, should make it possible to develop a quantitative measure of consistency readily available to a wider range of players, with a wider range of abilities. This will allow young hitters to better measure their progress while also giving scouts and coaches a tool to judge prospective players.

In this article, we look for a way to quantify that relationship between consistency and hitter quality. We measured over 1,500 individual swings from 25 hitters, ranging in age from Little Leaguers to NCAA Division 1 players. We also collected different kinds of swings from each hitter, having each player hit off a tee and a pitching machine, with the goal of hitting first for power and later for contact.

Read the rest in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2016

(Collaboration with Dan Kopitzke, K-Zone Academy, Apex, NC)

International baseball: South Korea wins inaugural Premier 12

A three-run homer by Byung-Ho Park capped a five-run fourth inning as South Korea rolled past the United States, 8-0, to claim the inaugural Premier 12 baseball championship in front of 40,411 fans at the Tokyo Dome.

For South Korea, the victory marked their first global baseball title since the 1982 Baseball World Cup hosted in Seoul. The championship comes on the heels of a gold medal at September’s Asian Baseball Championship. As in September, South Korea needed a furious ninth-inning rally to upset Japan in the penultimate game. Seven innings of one-hit ball by Japanese ace Shohei Otani had the visitors facing elimination, down 3-0 with three outs to go. But six straight batters reached base for South Korea, with Dae-Ho Lee’s line drive single into the left field corner bringing in the tying and go-ahead runs.

Read the rest at Beyond the Box Score