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Statcast and the Oakland A's

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics
Khris Davis blasted two home runs. What does Statcast have to say about them?
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few seasons MLB’s Statcast has provided extra insight into what is happening on the field. Whether it is fielding, pitching, or hitting, there is something the data can tell us about what just happened on the field. Terms like “exit velocity” and “launch angle” have slowly crept in our hearts and minds as we consider how to turn a can-of-corn flyball out into a moonshot home run.

Whether or not this data can be prescriptive or just descriptive, I’m fascinated by how much more we can learn about the century-old game of baseball. Consider this the first installment in a regular piece detailing the week’s Statcast action and the Oakland A’s.

Let’s Start With a Primer

What is Statcast?

“Statcast, a state-of-the-art tracking technology, is capable of measuring previously unquantifiable aspects of the game.

Set up in all 30 Major League ballparks, Statcast collects data using a series of high-resolution optical cameras along with radar equipment. The technology precisely tracks the location and movements of the ball and every player on the field, resulting in an unparalleled amount of information covering everything from the pitcher to the batter to baserunners and defensive players.”

Statcast collects data such as velocity and spin rate for pitchers and exit velocity, launch angle, and barreled balls for hitters.

Opening Day Statcast

Oakland A’s Hitters

Player Event Distance Exit Velocity Launch Angle Height
Player Event Distance Exit Velocity Launch Angle Height
Khris Davis HR, 6th inning 408 feet 109.8 MPH 29.3 degrees 97.2 feet
Khris Davis HR, 8th Inning 391 feet N/A N/A N/A
Stephen Vogt HR, 2nd Inning 382 feet 104.3 MPH 23.6 degrees 66.1 feet
Statcast

Oakland A’s Pitchers

Player Event Average Velocity Sprin Rate
Player Event Average Velocity Sprin Rate
Kendall Graveman Sinker (93 pitches) 94.5 MPH 2,428 RPM
Statcast

Context and Notes

Davis’ first home run of last night registered the 11th longest home run distance so far in 2017. His second home run, which to me looked like the mightier of the two, slotted in at 18th longest.

Vogt’s second-inning blast, if you could call it that, was the definition of a wall scraper. It was the 2nd-shortest home run ball of the season, one foot shorter than Mike Trout’s home run later in the game.

Graveman was on his “A” game all night. He fired 104 pitches, of which 93 were sinkers. His velocity of 94.5 MPH was nearly two full MPH faster than his 2016 average. This has recieved not one, but two articles on Fangraphs from the same writer on the same day!

Conclusion

Like all data, these numbers don’t mean everything nor do they offer a complete understanding of the game. Still, it’s exciting to review all information that is available to help us enjoy the Oakland A’s and baseball even more than we already do! For more fun with stats check out Alex’s review of the small samples we received from Opening Day.