Zilis: Illini baseball team not in ‘dark ages’ of analytics

From Anthony Zilis at the Champaign News-Gazette on April 24, 2018, with mention of SABR member Alan Nathan:

Two weeks ago, just before an Illinois baseball team practice, Charlie Young was on the roof of the Illinois Field press box, fiddling around with the small box mounted on a tripod that the Illini baseball team hopes will revolutionize its data collection and use of advanced analytics.

The only hurdle is getting the FlightScope machine to work correctly. The metal poles holding up the protective netting cause interference with the machine’s ability to track pitches and hits.

“We’re trying to get better data, more precise data,” said Kameron Wells, a graduate student who works with data analytics across the Illinois athletic department.

The data that the machine does pick up, though, has already proved useful, and its utility will likely grow exponentially with time.

The Illinois baseball team’s data analytics program is still in its infancy. Young, a sophomore studying computer science and astronomy, works with Wells, who played baseball for Champaign Central and Knox College, and Illinois emeritus professor Alan Nathan, who is well-known for his studies in the physics of baseball.

Read the full article here: http://www.news-gazette.com/sports/illini-sports/baseball/2018-04-24/illini-baseball-team-not-%E2%80%98dark-ages%E2%80%99-when-it-comes

Originally published: April 24, 2018. Last Updated: April 24, 2018.