August 01, 2009

Visualizing MLB hit locations on a Google Map: Started off with looking at data from Mark Buehrle's perfect game that morphs into something else.

posted by netbros to baseball at 02:37 PM - 8 comments

Very cool - especially the bit about displaying the hit locations for one game as if they'd occured in any park.

posted by kokaku at 05:34 PM on August 01, 2009

This is amazing.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:44 AM on August 02, 2009

Talk about a new defensive tool to be used by the teams in positioning the players. Yes, they already do this, but I think this will give more details than some guy sitting in the dugout charting tendencies.

posted by scuubie at 12:54 PM on August 02, 2009

This is a perfect example of how baseball is the most over analyzed, over thought, over complicated, over exaggerated game on earth. Sure it is a statiticians dream but the lengths to which some go to make it seem more complex than it really is, or over exagerate the science of baseball is beyond me. How ridiculous does it seem to apply satellite technology to the positioning of players? Those coaches and managers must have been genius to figure out how to properly position outfielders without it. IMO Baseball is already way too data intesive and action deficient. It really isn't all that complicated.

posted by Atheist at 01:17 PM on August 03, 2009

That is a perfect example of a comment that didn't need to be posted.

posted by yerfatma at 02:55 PM on August 03, 2009

Do any comments really need to be posted? Or only yours? Or only comments that are in line with your opinions?

posted by Atheist at 04:54 PM on August 03, 2009

Atheist: Those coaches and managers must have been genius to figure out how to properly position outfielders without it. IMO Baseball is already way too data intesive and action deficient. It really isn't all that complicated.
You must work for the Kansas City Royals. :)

For some of us, we can appreciate the sport as a sport and also as a discrete, scientifically analyzable game, where every action mostly occurs in a vacuum and can be aggregated, summed, averaged, and median'ed to within an inch of its life. And the teams, players, coaches, organizations, and even fans who do so will have an edge over those who do not. Maybe this particular tool, not so much, but if you don't think successful organizations use analysis of data such as where the balls are hit to ensure that their fielders are as well positioned as possible to turn hits into outs... then I gotta believe you really do work for the Royals! :)

Also, prior to analysis, players still played and coaches still coached- they just didn't do it as well. It's like saying that learning poker odds and strategy is useless, since people obviously played before Doyle's bible on poker, so they must have been geniuses... um, except they didn't play as well, and if they didn't adapt and learn all those mathematical strategies, they'd never make it to the final table with the guys who have 5 bracelets on each wrist.

As for the actual linked post: it's far more interesting than you give it credit for, since it's not so much just about plotting the game data on a real satellite image, but also on being able to place that elsewhere- such as seeing where a homerun would land if it was hit from the middle of an intersection, or park... or obviously in another stadium. For as many times as fans say "Man, that would have been out at Yankee Stadium", now you can actually see. It'd be super interesting to plot every homerun hit by a Yankee player away this year and map them onto Yankee stadium, and vice versa, to see how that would have affected their numbers.

But if you can't see value in that, then why not move on to another thread, if this one doesn't interest you?

posted by hincandenza at 11:06 PM on August 03, 2009

As far as plotting whether or not a ball is a home run in another stadium, this technology has little value as trajectory is just as important as distance and destination. A home run to left in one park, just bounces off the wall at fenway. For what purpose? Wow that would have been a homerun at Fenway but here, it's an out.

My comments were not meant to be an indictment of baseball as a sport. I was just exressing my opinion that baseball is way over thought. The truth be known, keeping statistics of random events might give the appearance that those events have some relevance to individual situations but in truth the stats are so all over the place that their importance is negligible. They are mearly random stats. All random events when mapped or charted appear to have some random pattern. Some stats may appear to have some importance but in truth they can't. For example if a pitcher wins 32 percent of his games while wearing his white jock and 27 percent of his games while wearing his blue jock, is this clear evidence that he should never wear a blue jock or the statistical results are anything more than coincidence? I am sure some managers will look at this stat and start checking the pitchers jock before every game to increase their chances of victory.

I guess the nature of the game gives the managers and fans time to concentrate on all the minutiae. Since ninety percent of the plays are routine (a term used by announcers), the game pretty much boils down to a pitcher making his pitches and batters trying to get solid wood on the ball. Both extremely difficult skills in which success and failure are mearly a few percentage points apart. I certainly understand why any statistical edge might matter, looking too deeply for it becomes distracting. It isn't just baseball, I remember before a Bears game once, the announcers had spent an hour analyzing the match ups, speed against strength, receivers against coverage, one teams defense against the blocking strategy of the offense, then, they shoved a mic in front of Mike Ditka as he was walking to the field and asked who he thought would win and why, his response, "the team that blocks and tackles better".

posted by Atheist at 11:10 AM on August 04, 2009

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