This discussion about the difficulty of measuring defense reminded me of an exciting article I read a few days ago in Popular Science.
This off-season, the broadcast-tech company Sportvision will install a new player-tracking camera system into ballparks that could finally help produce accurate defensive statistics.
SportvisionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s FieldFX camera system records the action while object-recognition software identifies each fielder and runner, as well as the ball. After a play, the system spits out data for every movement: the trajectory of the ball, how far the fielder ran, and so on. Ã¢â‚¬Å“After an amazing catch by an outfielder, we can compare his speed and route to the ball with our database and show the TV audience that this player performed so well that 80 percent of the league couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have made that catch,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Ryan Zander, SportvisionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s manager of baseball products. That information, he says, will allow a much more quantitative measure of exactly what is an error.
I’ve heard talk about this kind of thing for years, but if they can put it into practice . . . wow. It could be like the ghost skiiers they have during Olympic broadcasts.
PopSci also wins the New York Post Headline Award for a related article from a couple springs ago.