Have you wondered how fast the ball comes off the bat of baseball's fiercest sluggers? How much ground the swiftest center fielders actually cover? Or just how quickly the game's best base stealers run? Thanks to Statcast, a revolutionary tracking technology, we can finally get definitive answers.
Statcast has aided the decision-making abilities of Major League front offices while providing next-level insight to fans everywhere.
Here's a quick primer on what exactly Statcast can do -- and what it means for Major League Baseball.
What is Statcast?
Statcast, a state-of-the-art tracking technology, is capable of measuring previously unquantifiable aspects of the game.
Set up in all 30 Major League ballparks, Statcast collects data using a series of high-resolution optical cameras along with radar equipment. The technology precisely tracks the location and movements of the ball and every player on the field, resulting in an unparalleled amount of information covering everything from the pitcher to the batter to baserunners and defensive players.
What can it measure?
The better question might very well be, "What can't Statcast measure?"
Starting with the pitcher, Statcast can measure simple data points such as velocity. At the same time, Statcast digs a whole lot deeper, also providing the perceived velocity -- a number derived from the velocity of a pitch at its exact release point. After all, a 90 mph pitch delivered 54 feet from home plate will seem faster to a hitter than a pitch of the same velocity released six inches closer to the mound.
Speaking of release point, Statcast measures the distance from the front edge of the pitching rubber to the spot at which a pitcher lets go of the ball. In addition, it calculates the time a pitcher takes to deliver each pitch -- starting with his first movement -- as well as the ultimate spin rate of that eventual pitch.
Moving on to hitters, Statcast is capable of measuring the velocity, launch angle and vector of the ball as it comes off the bat. From there, Statcast can also track the hang time and distance that a ball travels, as well as a projected landing-point distance on home runs.
As one might expect, Statcast has even more wide-ranging capabilities when it comes to tracking baserunners and defensive players. From top speed to acceleration to first-step times, Statcast can break down the factors that go into a stolen base or a difficult catch. Among other things, Statcast can also monitor how far or efficiently a player traveled on a given play, how quickly a fielder got rid of the ball and the velocity of the ensuing throw.
Said data also has allowed for the creation of new metrics -- such as Barrels, Hit Probability and Catch Probability -- designed to analyze aspects of the game that would be impossible to accurately measure without Statcast. And with so much information now readily available to quantify the previously unquantifiable, the potential for further innovation is great.
Thanks to Statcast, the future of baseball analytics has officially arrived. In this section, you will become intimately acclimated with each of Statcast's game-changing features.
The following are all of the terms defined within this section:
- Arm Strength (ARM)
- Catch Probability
- Distance Covered (DCOV)
- Exchange (XCH)
- First Step (STEP)
- Pop Time (POP)
- Route Efficiency (RE)
- Sprint Speed (SS)
- Acceleration (ACC)
- Batted Ball Direction (BBD)
- Batted Ball Event (BBE)
- Exit Velocity (EV)
- Expected Batting Average (xBA)
- Expected Slugging Percentage (xSLG)
- Expected Weighted On-base Average (xwOBA)
- Generated Velocity (GV)
- Hit Distance (DST)
- Hit Probability
- Home To First
- Launch Angle (LA)
- Lead Distance (LEAD)
- Max Height (HI)
- Maximum Speed (SPD)
- Projected Home Run Distance (HR-DIS)