December 9, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
And here's the full roster.
THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Monday, July 06, 2009
I've been playing with the Hit F/X data from Sportsvision for a little while now, and I think I finally have something worth sharing with the class.
If you check out the first THT Annual, you'll find an article from Robert Dudek about the importance of hang time in how easy it is to field a fly ball (which, for these purposes, I am using to encompass everything that isn't a ground ball). This is a huge, important thing.
But the data providers have never recorded hang time for us; instead, we get the three bins "fly ball", "line drive" and "pop-up." (There are a few more bins, like "fliner," in the BIS data.) So we've had to make due with that. This is one of the chief reasons that outfield defense is harder to measure than infield defense, for instance.
Well, now we have Hit F/X. This gives us a few pieces of data that we can use to estimate hang time:
The most important piece of missing data is the ball's spin at launch. This can potentially be estimated based upon the spin of the incoming pitch and the launch angle (smarter men than I will be required for this task). For the time being, I am proceeding as though a hit ball has no spin. This is an area for further improvement. (Other potential areas of improvement would be the inclusion of air density and wind data.)
Professor Alan Nathan has provided a set of spreadsheets useful to the calculation of a baseball's flight path based upon the data we have. I have based my efforts upon these spreadsheets (and am especially indebted to him for help in understanding some of the particulars).
As a little taste, here's a look at DER for a ball in play (in other words, home runs excluded) based upon hang time:
The smallest time in the air looks like it's largely bunt attempts. A little longer time is mostly for ground balls. Then we get to fly balls. Past a certain point, the longer a ball stays in the air, the more likely it's getting caught.
There is of course a lot more we can do with this data, and a lot of improvements that can be made to how the data is derived from Hit F/X. This hopefully at least whets your appetite.
For those interested, you can download the source code used to calculate hang time here. In order for it to work you need:
Go ahead and leave a comment or drop me a line if you have any questions or helpful suggestions regarding the Python code.
UPDATE: Professor Nathan, from a comment at Tango's blog:
I modified the code base to include the effects of backspin at 2000 rpm, and I think my results line up with his as far as the 20% figure goes. I can't tell you which is more reliable, or even if either set of estimates is more useful than what we currently have for air balls. (Although I think that it is, but my thinking is far from proof.)
For those who want to see the data, you can. The first column is the id as per the provided table from Sportsvision,the next two columns are distance and time without spin, and two columns that follow are distance and time computed with spin.
If you’re a SABR member, I suspect you always enjoy receiving your Baseball Research Journal in the mail, as I did when I received mine last Friday. This issue was no disappointment, providing a full slate of original, intriguing articles.
But one article in particular caught my eye, and warmed my heart. The concluding piece in this hefty magazine was a brief two-pager entitled, “Remembering the Golden Age of Baseball: Preserving the Past.”
That much didn’t grab me. What did was the byline: Vi Owen.
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