McDonnell: Nostalgia and Statcast could be home run for MLB

From SABR member Wayne McDonnell at on May 22, 2017:

Major League Baseball’s Statcast tracking technology has successfully rekindled the fascination fans have with home runs. The reverence that has traditionally surrounded power hitters and their epic swings is now supported by cutting edge graphics that succinctly summarize launch angles and exit velocities. The dazzling visuals and metrics that accompany each movement and swing are a by-product of high-resolution optical cameras and radar equipment in ballparks across Major League Baseball. Even though the sport is still struggling to engage with younger fans due to issues with pace of play and the average length of games exceeding three hours, there is a genuine opportunity to capitalize on the renewed interest in home runs. While observing the growing infatuation with Statcast and advancements in digital media, Major League Baseball has the potential to create an innovative product millennials will want to eagerly consume without committing hours to watching a ball game.

Ballplayers such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have become the darlings of Statcast thanks to their prodigious displays of power  . To date this season, Judge and Stanton have hit a combined 16 home runs with an exit velocity of at least 110 miles per hour at an average distance of 425 feet. To take it a step further, Judge’s prolific and awe-inspiring strength has produced three home runs with an exit velocity of at least 115 miles per hour at an average distance of 447 feet. One of the home runs actually eclipsed 119 miles per hour in terms of exit velocity. Some consider this information to be nonsense and irrelevant in terms of how it actually factors into the outcomes of ball games. However, there is a new generation of fans who are deeply fascinated with the technology, which positively enhances their overall baseball experience.

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Originally published: May 23, 2017. Last Updated: May 23, 2017.