Statcast comes to televised games tonight

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We’ve talked about Statcast before. It’s the 3D tracking technology from MLB Advanced Media which has been available to some degree on MLB.com replays and the like. It shows how fast guys run, how hard the ball is hit off the bat, defensive player routes and the like. It was showcases online during last year’s playoffs in replays like this one.

As of tonight, it’s coming to television:

Baseball fans will have an opportunity to view a live game like never before when Statcast makes its television debut during today’s MLB Network Showcase game between the Cardinals and Nationals at 7 p.m. ET. If you’ve ever wondered how fast the ball comes off of Bryce Harper’s bat, or just how much ground Jason Heyward can cover in the outfield, your chance to get definitive answers is finally here.

The link at MLB.com has a primer at what it is, how it will be used and what sort of information viewers will be able to get from it. It’s worth your time, as it’s a thing that, I presume, will be increasingly integrated into broadcasts much the way PitchF/X strike zones and things have been. I also presume that, before even seeing it, many will decry it as the over-statting of baseball and make all of the usual jokes about mother’s basements, computer simulations and the like.

There may be some growing pains and there will certainly be a learning curve involved for both the broadcasters and viewers, who will need some time to figure out which of the newly available metrics are worth a damn, what numbers = good and what numbers = bad and so on. But good on MLB for trying to innovate.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.