An especially to-the-point Hey Bill today:
This year's trendy stats have been launch angle and exit velocity. Now, when I'm watching a game, I can tell the difference between a fly ball and a line drive, and I can tell how hard a ball is hit. I don't need Euclid to plot it out for me like I'm in math class. Can't I just appreciate the picture? Do they chart the parabola after Steph Curry swhishes a 30 footer? After Aaron Rodgers throws a bomb? No, because you can see them right in front of you.
So launch angle and exit velocity are irritating to me, plus I don't know what value I'm supposed to make of them. A one-hopper to short is liable to be the hardest hit ball all night, harder than a high fly that just clears the wall. So what? If only McCovey had gotten under that pitch, he'd have hit it out, and the Giants win the Series. We know.
So tell me, what do launch angles and exit velocities tell us about hitting that we can't see for ourselves or we don't already know?
Asked by: JackKeefe
It is likely that these measurements could be used in some cases to diagnose failure and build a pathway toward success. When you get your annual physical and they do the bloodwork, there are 250 numbers in there that don't mean anything to you, but to your doctor your albumin/globulin ratio may indicate the possibility of Multiple Myeloma (which my father died of) or it could indicate cirrhosis or kidney disease or poor circulation. I have my physical report in front of me; it says that my RDW is normal and my MPV is normal and my BASO% is normal. My Creatinine is normal. I have NO idea what any of this means, but I am glad somebody is checking on all this stuff.
If you have a player who has a high exit velocity but isn't hitting for power, it could indicate power potential there if an adjustment is made. I'm not confident that you would see this without a measurement of it.
I agree that these terms are. . . .overly trendy right now. I think they are strange choices for part of the daily sportswriting vocabulary, and that, in general, they are either organically useless or measuring things that are obvious anyway. People are using these terms to let us know that they are with it; they are up on all the latest stuff. I think in ten years these terms will most likely be returned to the back of the pantry where they belong. But I think they may possibly be of some use to professionals. - James
Exec Sum: usually these super-refined numbers are best used to --- > fix problems. It's not that they can routinely point out things invisible to us. I agree. Which is why we don't go whole-hog on StatCast's "expected batting average," "expected ISO" and so forth. Stats are backwards-looking anyway.
It's good to be aware of them, but "back of the pantry" is a good thought here, IMHO.
Not to apologize for Ben Gamel's insane batting average. :- ) Though it does seem quite possible to me that he's going to peak at better than .260.
And not to sound preachy. But SSI's take on "launch velo" is to weight it less than most places do, especially since two guys averaging 88 MPH might have one guy producing many more 95+ shots. And SSI's take on "launch angle" is that it is WAY overdone.
Overdone does not mean useless.
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Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War, was asked why he goofed off so much. "If I didn't laugh, I'd cry." We could ALL stand to
Given a choice between shtick or baseball bats wrapped in barb wire, let's go with shtick. :- ) Whattaya say.