Thursday, May 30, 2019

Video - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone

Today we preview Episode 15 of The Plate Meeting podcast, Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone, with a comprehensive overview and history of MLB umpire evaluation through computer balls/strikes analysis, and a peculiar major league dichotomy between an internal, private system claiming 97% accuracy for umpires relative to balls/strikes, while a public-facing application from a different branch of the league claims umpires are only 91% accurate in pitch calling.

This introductory video segment from Episode 15 discusses a decades-old fork in the road taken by a league that appeared to prioritize umpire ranking and rating over training, and introduced QuesTec into the baseball lexicon, a program whose adoption resulted in friction between the umpires and league, compounding a fractured relationship that had already come to a head in 1999.

We trace the electronic strike zone journey from QuesTec through SMT SportVision's Pitch f/x and MLBAM's StatCast, with its PitchCast component that, according to Umpire Auditor's Dylan Yep, was meant for television broadcast, not for accurate strike zone analysis, and whose public-facing data—which we will prove aren't foolproof—contribute to a culture of umpire-blaming that modern sports culture encourages, and proliferates through league vehicles Gameday and Baseball Savant as well as non-league visualization services, such as Brooks Baseball, all while the umpire-friendly Zone Evaluation metric is kept under lock and key, out of the public eye.

The following preview is just the first part of Plate Meeting Podcast Episode 15. Subsequent segments of this episode will feature interviews with Dylan Yep of Umpire Auditor and Economics Master Lecturer Mark T. Williams of Boston University.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Intro Segment for Episode 15 of The Plate Meeting - Strike Zone Overview (CCS)


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