Cameras have been put into ballparks around Major League Baseball this season to help accumulate data on the break, drop, velocity, wiggle, shift, cut, slide, plane, tumble and veer of pitches. It's been called a "radar gun for curves" and the information that could spill out of it could be revolutionary to more than watching baseball and understanding baseball.
It could impact scouting.
Sure, you can tell me that Sandy Koufax allowed fewer runs per nine innings than Pedro Martinez. But whose fastball had more movement? Nobody's yet come up with an algorithm for "nastiness."
That could change soon. This season, Major League Baseball rolled out a new feature, "Pitch f/x," that's like the stathead equivalent of a particle accelerator—a technical marvel that might just yield answers to the fundamental questions of the baseball universe.
There haven't been numbers to completely define why Trevor Hoffman's changeup is so effective, why Barry Zito's curve works and some other loopy ones don't, why Brandon Webb's sinker is more devilish than, say, Aaron Cook's or Derek Lowe's. Or is it? Pitch f/x might give the answer.
And then ... Teams can have young prospects come into these ballparks with the cameras and after throwing a few curves and running a few numbers know if that's the kind of breaking ball that defies hitters.
Because it apparently won't defy statistics anymore.