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Future of automated tracking technology
Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s announced a new play-tracking system, a marriage between radar and camera technology that promises to measure every movement that takes place on a baseball field. The as-yet-unnamed system, which was announced by MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman and CTO Joe Inzerillo at Sloan Conference earlier this year, will be functioning at three ballparks—Miller Park, Target Field, and Citi Field—for the full 2014 season, with the rest theoretically rolling out by Opening Day 2015.
At the 2014 SABR Analytics Conference, Sportvision, the company behind FIELDf/x, showed off a system tentatively dubbed BIOf/x which isn’t intended to track everything that takes place on the field but focuses specifically on the pitcher’s delivery and the batter’s swing (though it might eventually expand to include other players). BIOf/x captures the position of the bat or selected body parts at a moment in time: for pitchers, the location of the plant foot, shoulder at release, elbow at release, and hand at release, and for batters, the hands at the point of contact (or the point at which the bat and ball are on the same plane, in the case of a swing-and-miss), the tip of the bat at point of contact (or the point at which the bat and ball are on the same plane, in the case of a swing-and-miss), and the location of the back and front foot.

The future of prediction and prevention of injuries
For all the progress made by science and mathematics in countless areas of baseball, the prediction and prevention of injuries remain a frustrating mystery. The most definitive early sabermetric attempt to solve the puzzle of injured pitchers was conducted at Baseball Prospectus in 1998 by Rany Jazayerli. His Pitcher Abuse Points (PAP) framework, which was later expanded upon by BP’s Keith Woolner, centered on a simple hypothesis: “Throwing is not dangerous to a pitcher’s arm. Throwing while tired is dangerous to a pitcher’s arm.” To quantify this effect, Jazayerli and Woolner set up a scale to separate ordinary starts from high pitch-count outings that put tremendous strain on the arm, with a stress factor that compounds as more pitches are thrown. In a game where everything is dissected with painstaking rigor, not even sabermetricians have been able to make much headway in reducing the rate at which pitchers get hurt. They’ve been at it for more than a decade, and they’re as stymied as the rest.

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