Quick Hits: MLB Advanced Media, Tanaka, White Sox

It's been a slow day throughout baseball, but there's been at least one very interesting development. At the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston today, MLB Advanced Media presented a new plan to measure new aspects of each play and connect various pieces of data to find out why each play turned out the way it did. For example, on a ball hit to the outfield, MLBAM will track not only the trajectory of the ball, but also the timing of the outfielder's first step and the efficiency of his route. The technology will also allow teams to connect hitting, pitching, baserunning and fielding data.

Details of the system have appeared on Twitter throughout the day, but MLB.com's Mark Newman explains the system more thoroughly in a long-form article. (When you click on the article, be sure to check out the video showing an example of the data the system will track.) The system appears likely to impact analysis of all aspects of the game, but it will most obviously impact analysis of fielding. "Just on the field, with the coaching staff and the manager — when you start to look at positioning, and you start to see the exit velocity of the ball coming off the bat, and is he late or is he ahead of a lot of pitches, and then you move your infielders and outfielders accordingly," MLB.com's Jim Duquette says. The data appears likely to have a significant impact on player valuation throughout the game. The data will be collected at Brewers, Twins and Mets home games in 2014, and then the system will launch in all other ballparks in 2015. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • Masahiro Tanaka made his spring debut with the Yankees today, pitching two scoreless innings and allowing two hits against the Phillies. Even Tanaka's first spring appearance was a major news event, given that Tanaka was the Yankees' highest-profile signing in an offseason filled with high-profile Yankees signings. Three Japanese television channels broadcast the game, which also included Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro SuzukiDavid Waldstein of the New York Times notes that Tanaka's fastball came in at 94 MPH. 
  • The White Sox have signed 24 pre-arbitration eligible players to one-year deals, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets. Starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who posted a 3.51 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 200 innings in 2013, received a $50K raise to $550K, and reliever Nate Jones got a $37K raise to $545K.


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