Anderson: How Statcast has changed baseball and why not everyone is happy

From R.J. Anderson at CBS Sports on June 6, 2017, with mention of SABR member Rob Arthur:

Back in July 2014, I wrote for Newsweek about Statcast, the latest conquest spearheaded by MLB and its collection of technological whizzes, known appropriately as MLB Advanced Media. The big conclusion back then: “Big data is about to change how baseball is managed, analyzed and consumed.” Nearly three years later, it’s worth asking: has big data — has Statcast — changed how baseball is managed, analyzed, and consumed?

Using the most literal definition of the word “changed,” the answer is yes. Teams are incorporating the Statcast numbers into fancy simulations to evaluate prospective acquisitions; fans and writers are dissecting elements of the same data to judge those acquisitions; broadcasters are talking their way through replays and overlays sprinkled with Statcast graphics; and so on.


Except, while Statcast has delivered us new prisms through which to view baseball, it has also attracted critics. Here, then, is the tougher question to answer: why isn’t everyone on board with The New Big Thing? Much of it comes down to accuracy and availability.

“It is incredibly powerful, when it works and is released to the public,” FiveThirtyEight baseball columnist Rob Arthur said to CBS Sports. “The trouble is that it doesn’t always work, and often isn’t released to the public.”

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Originally published: June 6, 2017. Last Updated: June 6, 2017.