Alan Schwarz has an intriguing piece over at Primer about the future of defensive statistics. Don't look now, but the future is closer than we think:
This spring, Major League Baseball’s Internet portal, mlb.com, will install in select parks a three-camera set-up to measure pitch speeds, locations and breaks—to automate the collection of pitch data that until now has been generally eyeballed. This is only the first step, though, in mlb.com’s three-year plan to have up to six cameras in every major league stadium capturing everything—from line-drive trajectories to outfielder running speeds.
We’ll finally be able to know whether Derek Jeter—who is aesthetically wonderful—actually has the range statistics say he doesn’t. We’ll measure Vladimir Guerrero’s throwing speed and accuracy from right field. And we’ll get a lot closer to identifying the best center fielder in the game.
Traditionalists might bristle at such technological advances, but think about how this could potentially alter the way we view the game. The average baseball fan is bound to have some pretty sophisticated resources to consider come 2010.