Science and Technology
By Miriam Kazlow, Contributing Writer
As the 2019 baseball season is coming to an end, or just beginning for those who really only enjoy October baseball, I want to take a moment to realize how far baseball has come in the last 116 years, since the MLB officially started. Today, the game of baseball, specifically the MLB (Major League Baseball), has changed tremendously and continues to progress as time goes on by using new technology to track baseball data. In 2015, the MLB installed tracking hardware called Statcast in all of its thirty ballparks. Statcast is a system which uses high resolution optical cameras with radar equipment to track the movement of both the players and the baseball for statistics that have never been seen before.
Since it was introduced in 2015, Statcast has given precise information on exit velocity, arm strength, launch angle, runner’s speed, and basically every aspect one could want to know about any player. Players can use this data to see why when they hit the ball, it was caught by the opposing team, or missed, and why the opposing team hit a homerun. While Statcast is being used primarily for MLB players, many MLB prospects also use this technology. Because Statcast baseball now has new statistics that didn’t exist ten or fifteen years ago, teams have access to new baseball data from Statcast and can use the technology to improve their game, while also learning about opposing players’ strengths and weaknesses. For example, Statcast tracks percentages of where players hit the ball around the field. Because all teams have this information, players generally know where batters will hit the ball, which causes more shifting in the field. Shifting is when fielders tend to generally know where a batter will hit the ball, so they either shift to the right or left side of the field depending on the hitter. Many fans, however, are against the shift because it takes away from the surprise of where the ball will be hit in the field. Statcast is great piece of equipment to use, but, in contrast, it takes away the ambiguity of baseball.
2019 has brought a lot to the table and has also revolutionized the technology that we have today. The MLB took hold of the technological advancements of 2019 and has used it to their advantage by increasing the statistics of baseball. As the years go by and technology keeps on advancing, maybe robot umpires will be the MLB’s next big thing.