Mets and Yankees set for another Statcast Showcase
State-of-the-art tracking technology takes baseball viewing to the next level
By Spencer Fordin
Get ready to experience the Subway Series in greater detail than you've ever seen it before.
Statcast, a state-of-the-art tracking technology, made its television debut on Tuesday night during MLB Network's Showcase broadcast of the Cardinals-Nationals game, and it will return on Friday night at 7 ET for the first Mets-Yankees game of the year, which is another MLB Network Showcase game.
Finally, it seems that nothing in baseball is unmeasurable. Do you want to quantify Juan Lagares' first step on any specific play? Or would you want to know how fast Jacoby Ellsbury runs when chasing down a liner in the alley? Now, this data is at your fingertips.
Statcast collects on-field data using a series of high-resolution optical cameras along with radar equipment that has been installed in all 30 Major League ballparks. The technology precisely tracks the location and movements of the ball and every player on the field at any given time.
And if you're still having a hard time imagining the applications of that data, consider the ways that MLB Network has already conceived.
The Yankees' speedy outfielders
On Monday, for instance, Statcast measured a Brett Gardner route against the Tigers and showed that he covered 78.5 feet when chasing down a ball in deep left field off the bat of Victor Martinez. Gardner reached a maximum speed of 17.2 mph, and Statcast measured his route efficiency at 97.8 percent while tracking down the ball at the wall. Those numbers are good, but not quite as impressive as those Statcast revealed about one of Gardner's outfield mates.
Statcast also measured Ellsbury in that same game, and we can now go inside the numbers on a catch he made deep in the right-center-field gap on another ball hit by Martinez (tough luck for him that night). New York's center fielder traveled 100.6 feet on the play, and he reached a top speed of 21 mph. Even more interesting, Ellsbury measured 99.5 percent route efficiency, which is nearly perfect.
That top speed -- 21 mph -- registered by Ellsbury in the outfield equals that of some of the swiftest basestealers in the league. Miami infielder Dee Gordon was recently measured at 21.1 mph on a steal of second, and Cincinnati speedster Billy Hamilton clocked in at 21.2 mph on another steal.
Another Statcast Showcase
So what will we learn when the Yankees and Mets play on Friday night? That remains to be seen, but we can go back and take what we found out when Washington and St. Louis played earlier in the week. Jon Jay made two highlight-reel catches for St. Louis, yielding quite a bit of data both times.
On the second play, which sent the game into extra innings, Statcast was able to break down Jay's top speed (14.8 mph) and his reaction time (.3 seconds) on his diving grab on a ball hit by Jayson Werth. The first play showed a different look at Jay's skills, as he ran deep into the right-center-field gap, reaching a top speed of 20.4 mph, to rob Ryan Zimmerman of extra bases.
Fans and analysts also learned that on the game-winning home run-- a 10th-inning walk-off shot by Washington's Yunel Escobar -- the ball left the bat at an astounding 101.5 mph.
Statcast, the game's final frontier, is still teaching us, swing by swing and play by play, what to expect from any given moment. Make sure to tune in Friday night, when you can see the game's latest revelations played out against the backdrop of a natural Interleague rivalry in New York.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.