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?"
Moving on to hitters, Statcast is capable of measuring the exit velocity, launch angle and vector of the ball as it comes off the bat. From there, Statcast can also track the hang time and projected distance that a ball travels.
As one might expect, Statcast has even more wide-ranging capabilities when it comes to tracking baserunners and defensive players. Sprint Speed is a metric that aims to more precisely quantify speed by measuring how many feet per second a player runs in his fastest one-second window, which helps break down the factors that go into a stolen base or a difficult catch. Moreover, Pop Time -- the time elapsed from the moment the pitch hits the catcher's mitt to the moment the intended fielder is projected to receive his throw at the center of the base -- is tracked on every steal or pickoff attempt by a catcher. 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 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. This, in turn, has led to new ways to evaluate players' performances and more precisely project future outcomes, including Expected Batting Average (xBA), Expected Slugging Percentage (xSLG), Expected Weighted On-base Average (xwOBA) and Outs Above Average (OAA).
And with so much information now readily available to quantify the previously unquantifiable, the potential for further innovation is great. New metrics will continue to be introduced every year to improve and advance how the game is viewed.
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)
- Outs Above Average (OAA)
- Pop Time (POP)
- Sprint Speed (SS)
- 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)
- Hit Distance (DST)
- Hit Probability
- Home To First
- Launch Angle (LA)
- Lead Distance (LEAD)
- Max Height (HI)
- Projected Home Run Distance (HR-DIS)