Introducing Sportsvision's FieldFX

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Defense: the final frontier . . .:

This could be the year that baseball-stat freaks finally crack the
“Derek Jeter enigma.” A panel of coaches has awarded the New York
Yankees’ shortstop four of the past six Gold Glove awards for fielding
excellence. That drives statisticians nuts, because nearly every
statistical model ranks Jeter’s defense below average.

But evaluating fielding is baseball’s hardest math. There are just
too many unknowns in a play. How much ground did Jeter cover? How fast
was the ball moving? In essence: How unlikely was it that he’d catch
the ball?

This off-season, the broadcast-tech company Sportvision will install
a new player-tracking camera system into ballparks that could finally
help produce accurate defensive statistics.

The system basically consists of multiple cameras recording the action combined with object-recognition software
which identifies the speed of and the route taken by the fielder, the location of the base runners and the trajectory of the ball.  Then some science or math or magic or whatever happens after which one can compare the fielder’s performance with everyone else in the database. Which, after a while, should be everyone.

I try my hardest to stay up on the defensive metrics, but I really struggle to commit any of the stats or rankings to the same sort of memory that allows me to instantly say who’s a good hitter and who isn’t.  If this system makes it easier for old men with little room left in their brains for new information to track defense, I’m all for it.

(thanks to Luke H. for the link)

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.