Petti: Using Statcast data to predict hits

From SABR member Bill Petti at The Hardball Times on June 14, 2016, with mention of SABR members Alan Nathan and Rob Arthur:

Ever since Statcast was announced as a concept I have been waiting to get access to begin examining to what we extent we can build models with the data. We know various teams have been doing similar work with the data available to them for a few years now, but, given how MLBAM essentially made PITCHf/x publicly available, the hope was the general public would similarly have access to the new data generated by the Statcast system.

A little over two months into the season there have been quite a few batted balls that include the three most critical pieces of Statcast information–batted ball distance, launch angle of the ball, and exit velocity. In fact, we have more than 40,000. That seems like a good amount to build and validate at least an initial model of how those three factors determine whether a ball will fall for a hit or be turned into an out.

Although the data are new, some similar work has already been released by a number of researchers.

Alan Nathan has done some amazing work with both HITf/x data and now the Statcast data here at The Hardball Times around what constitutes the optimal swing and contact.

Jonathan Judge, Nick Wheatley-Schaller, and Sean O’Rourke of Baseball Prospectus have examined to what extent there may be park factors that impact the raw readings we see in terms of exit velocity.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 14, 2016. Last Updated: June 14, 2016.