Major League Baseball has introduced a super-complicated new statistics tool intended to attract fans and viewers. It debuted Statcast on MLB Network last week, and you're going to see it more often during game broadcasts soon. You might not know what Statcast looks like right now. But if you watch any baseball games this season, you will.
Statcast can take a single play and determine a whole host of numbers, many of them particularly exciting in the context of defense: a base runner’s speed as he jumps from one base to steal another; his lead on the player trying to throw him out; the angle of his running path; the speed of the infielder’s throw; and even the time it took the infielder to get the ball out of his glove.
MLB installed Statcast technology in every ballpark before the season started, but commentators are only now referencing it during broadcasts. The league is hoping Statcast will help it grow its fan base by attracting "statheads." They're a growing demographic of sports fans that enjoy analyzing leagues, players and teams using hard data.