Arthur: What the crack of the bat can tell us

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on April 17, 2020:

Among the many cliched sights, feels, and sounds we are missing out on in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic is the crack of the bat. The sharp, quick snap that heralds quality contact is distinguishable by ear from the lower, deeper thwack of a mis-struck grounder in the dirt. Until recently, we lacked the tools to quantify good contact; scouts even sometimes relied on the bat’s sound to divine a prospect’s skills. The audio data shows that bat cracks can be surprisingly informative, but that volume doesn’t mean what you think it does.

As a plethora of new sensors permeates baseball and collects information on everything from biomechanics to players’ neurological profiles, it’s easy to forget about all the data that has been collected for decades: the video and audio that TV channels constantly record. With a lack of new baseball to write about, we can turn to the sights and sound of the game for new insights.

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Originally published: April 17, 2020. Last Updated: April 17, 2020.