Some things to talk about while I ask Orbit to the prom...
1) Luhnow talks at Sloan
Over the weekend, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow went to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. He sat down with SB Nation's own Chris Cotillo for an exclusive interview as part of his weekend. It's worth your time. For instance, why did Luhnow hire so many former journalists and writers?
"The technical skills are huge, but if you can't communicate them effectively, then you're going to lose the impact," Luhnow said. "You could have the brightest analysts, but without the ability to package the information and communicate to the decision makers properly, you're going to lose the ability to have an impact. People who have spent a lot of their time trying to communicate their findings to the world through BP [Baseball Prospectus], or wherever, have figured out how to communicate in writing and using the verbal word as well. You get the best of both worlds when you hire a technical person who has some experience in communications."
As I said, the entire interview is worth reading, but the reason I love this quote so much is what it says about Houston's organizational philosophy. Everything is connected. Everything fits together and everyone works in unison. There's communication along set lines and it's done effectively.
2) MLBAM's new tracking system
Another big bit of news to come out of the weekend is that MLB Advanced Media has a very exciting new system set to come online soon. From Beyond the Box Score:
MLB Advanced Media has developed a system to track pitches, batted balls, and player movement. It will be in three parks in 2014 -- Miller Park (Brewers), Target Field (Twins), and Citi Field (Mets) -- before being rolled out league-wide in 2015. From what I understood, the system has two cameras approximately 30 feet apart that work on the same principle as the human eye to judge distance; there is also a radar-based system (developed in conjunction with Trackman) to track pitches and batted balls.
And best of all, MLBAM says they plan to release this data to "all teams and the fans" once the system is installed in all ballparks by 2015. So let's dream a little: What's the first thing you're going to look at when you get your hands on this data?
That excerpt is from a discussion on what the data means. It's also worth a read, because it gets at what this data could mean. Most importantly, though, is the assertion that MLB wants to make this data available to the public. in our TCB staff email list this weekend, we had a lively discussion on whether they'd make it available or sell it to teams and keep it private.
Can you imagine the kinds of data we can mine from this type of system? I'm already excited and I haven't even seen any of the data yet.
3) Danry Vasquez' Twitter support for Venezuela
It's nice to see Astros prospect Danry Vasquez support his country on Twitter. The outfielder, acquired from the Tigers last summer as part of the Jose Veras deal, has been tweeting pictures of support for his country, where fighting is ongoing.
Orgulloso de haber nacido en VENEZUELA. pic.twitter.com/RDiQPmOfnP— Danry Vásquez (@DanryVasquez) March 2, 2014
Dexter Fowler showed his support for both the Ukraine and Venezuela Monday morning with this post on Instagram.