Branch Rickey once complained that “there is nothing on earth anybody can do with fielding,” but that's about to change thanks to a complex new camera and computer system, the New York Times reports. The system, which will be unveiled for baseball executives tomorrow, records the exact speed and location of every ball and every player, giving stat geeks a mountain of new data. The idea is to get a better handle on intangibles such as which outfielder has the best arm.
The system is already being tested in the Giants' ballpark, and it could be in all 30 parks by 2010. MLB's Internet arm wants to make the data public, but teams may keep a lid on some of it for competitive reasons.“It can be a big deal,” says Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro. “You almost have to change the structure of the front office to make sense of it.”