Dewan: Out ratio vs. catch probability

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on March 28, 2017:

Earlier this month at both the Sloan Analytics Conference in Boston and the SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix, MLBAM’s StatCast team released details on a new statistic that they have started to report on flyballs to the outfield: Catch Probability. Catch Probability is a measure of how hard a catch is to make based on how far the batted ball is from the nearest outfielder and how long it has been in the air. Here is a full explanation of how it works from Because of our long-time passion for defensive metrics, we at Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) are particularly interested in their new statistic, especially in how it compares to Out Ratio, which is the basis of the Range and Positioning metric that serves as the foundational component of Defensive Runs Saved.

Catch Probability and Out Ratio are similar. Both measure how hard it is to catch a specific type of ball. Both rely on hang time to factor in difficulty. However, by measuring how far the fielder has to run, Catch Probability is measuring range by itself. Out Ratio measures range and positioning taken together in that it does not factor in the starting position of the outfielder.

The two metrics have differences, but they both get at the same question of how difficult a flyball was to catch. And both methods group plays with other plays having similar measurements from recent seasons to answer that question.

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Originally published: March 28, 2017. Last Updated: March 28, 2017.