May 11, 2021

Sarris: 5 thoughts on Statcast’s new infield defense statistic (The Athletic)

Infield defense has long been one of the most difficult aspects of baseball to assess, especially statistically. Just think about how many skills are involved with every play: There’s the defender’s positioning before the ball is hit, the reaction time as he figures out where the ball is going, the first step toward that direction, the speed at which he can get there, the technique involved in staying in front of the ball, the softness of the hands as they pick it, the steadiness (and quickness) of those hands as they ascend, the transition into the throwing hand, the strength of the throw, the accuracy of the throw, and then the skill of the first baseman at receiving the throw.

That’s a complicated set of individual moments that add up to a single defensive play, and many of those — like positioning — aren’t even necessarily totally in the control of the defender. And before the days of deep data, before player tracking was a part of…

Read “Sarris: 5 thoughts on Statcast’s new infield defense statistic” at The Athletic