Tuesday's Three Astros Things

Talking about the NBA and Field F/X, automating prospect lists and a worldwide draft...

Some things to talk about while Chris Carter hits his way into a DH role...wait, what??

1) How might Field F/X be used?

Allow me to connect two dots for a minute. You may not want to read this excellent piece by Grantland's Zach Lowe on how the Toronto Raptors are using a camera system to develop better player metrics and understand how help defense functions in the NBA.

We are not an NBA blog, so why are we talking about it? As I read about the way the Raptors use the system, creating a perfect defense model based on player skill and location on the court, my mind reached out for the possibility of a major league team using it as well.

If the Field F/X system every goes big time, couldn't baseball clubs do this as well? Couldn't they model defensive positioning on a player-by-player matchup to try and maximize things like infield shifts, outfield positioning and much more?

There might also be more buy-in from players initially, as they already get help from coaches on how to position on defense. This would just enhance it's effectiveness.

Maybe teams already do this, just through video. It's still cool to think about the next wave of technology that could be hitting the game, though, and to see it in action in another sport.

2) Automating top prospect lists

There's a piece up at Beyond the Box Score that discusses a presentation at the 2013 MIT Sloan Analytics Conference discussion a presentation on prospect lists. Even when people try to create composite lists, like FanGraphs and even our prospect guys did with draft prospects on Monday, there is still some subjectivity that can lead to problems.

Do you trust lists, then? We saw some wild swings in opinions on Astros prospects this winter. What does that mean? The point that BtBS makes is that you can't have a list without some context. That's why a system like John Sickels' is so excellent, as it provides a grade along with a ranking.

Still, it's not perfect. If you were creating a perfect prospect ranking system, how would you do it? Grade and probability of reaching said grade like the BtBS or something different?

3) International draft looming?

MLB and the Players Association are negotiating furiously right now to try and implement a worldwide draft. The commissioner's office has been at this for a while and it was thought that the worldwide draft might be included in the last Collective Bargaining agreement.

Apparently, to accomplish this goal, MLB is willing to make significant concessions:

MLB is willing to make "significant concessions" to the MLBPA in order to implement a worldwide draft, sources tell ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter links). The players could obtain an increase in minimum salary, have a lower service time threshold for arbitration eligibility and more, Olney writes.

There are still hurdles to overcome, like deciding if there will be one unified draft or two drafts, the current one and then one for international players. How will this affect Japanese players and the posting system? I'd expect them to be exempt from this rule, but we can't be sure.

Also, how will this affect player development systems like Houston just opened in the Dominican Republic? Would they be governed by MLB? Would teams be able to be involved or excluded to avoid too much tampering before a draft?

Lots of stuff to parse, but it sounds like MLB wants a deal in place this year.

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