Ben-Porat: Can Statcast project a female position player?

From Eli Ben-Porat at The Hardball Times on November 6, 2019:

In March of 2018, FanGraphs’ legal expert, Sheryl Ring, posed the question as to whether professional baseball could legally exclude women, exploring it in her customary comprehensive style. Ever since then, I’ve been asking myself what I consider a related question: What would a LeBron James-class female athlete be like? At what level of baseball could she compete? Could she be an average player? Better? What positions could she play?

A “LeBron James-class athlete,” according to this author, is an athlete who is simultaneously the fastest, strongest and most athletic without any trade-offs. In other words, Mike Trout with Aaron Judge/Giancarlo Stanton exit velos and Byron Buxton speed. Thanks to Statcast, we now can quantify what such an athlete would look like in terms of Sprint Speed and Exit Velocities. We’ll essentially take the assumption that from a skills (pitch recognition, route running, optimizing launch angle…) standpoint, there should be no difference between men and women. The only measurable difference would be with respect to physical tools such as size, strength and speed.

This discussion should be solely an analytical one. However, whenever any subject related to gender is broached, it tends to morph into a political debate.

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Originally published: November 6, 2019. Last Updated: November 6, 2019.