If you find the topic of baseball statistics and measuring player performance interesting, this article by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan falls into the must-read category. Here’s a small taste:
Sometime soon, there is going to be a new version of Wins Above Replacement available, and its goal, aside from encapsulating a player’s value into one tidy number, is simple: Don’t be scary. The plan does not involve dumbing down the metric that serves as the flashpoint between those who yearn for a catch-all and those who lament it. On the contrary, as with almost everything it does, Major League Baseball Advanced Media wants to make it so smart people can’t help but like it.
Because more is coming. Over the past year, a prototype 8k video camera has been integrated into Statcast for testing. The video is so stunning, so rich, that the system theoretically would need only one camera, high above home plate, to capture every movement on the field with as much precision as it does today.
And remember our conversation about baseball organizations pleading poverty in relation to their payroll spending?
BAM, as the company is known, is MLB’s greatest success story of the past quarter century, an investment of a couple million dollars from each team that blossomed into the largest tech outfit on the East Coast and the hub for much of the video that streams into American households and devices. Even the lowest-revenue franchises would sell for more than a billion dollars today in part because of their 1/30th stake in BAM.
Given the direction baseball and other sports are headed, I suspect we’ll look back and consider that statement conservative.