One year ago, the Dodgers and R/GA debuted Dodgers Accelerator (@DodgersAccel on Twitter), an incubator for sports business and technology development, with 10 businesses ultimately presenting their work at a Dodger Stadium event in November. Partnership deals and capital raises for participants followed.
Today, applications are now open for the second year of Dodgers Accelerator action.
The wonders of Statcast will be on greater display in MLB video from this point forward. Paul Cassella writes about it at MLB.com, but in the current edition of Dodger Insider magazine, Mike Petriello provided this introduction. Click the images below to enlarge.
— Jon Weisman
By Jon Weisman
As part of the organization’s forward-thinking mentality, the Dodgers have joined with technology, design and marketing company R/GA to launch a program for investing in startups to benefit the next era of sports teams and their fans.
“The sports industry is ripe with opportunities for innovation,” Dodger chief financial officer Tucker Kain said. “There are countless ways for new technology to create more powerful consumer experiences, heighten fan engagement and improve efficiencies. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to work with some of the best sports-centric startups from the L.A. area and across the globe.”
The new program, Dodgers Accelerator (@DodgersAccel on Twitter), is designed to enable companies to explore and launch new business models, as well as help accelerate the growth of great products and services that have recently launched but not yet scaled. Ten startups will be chosen to receive special access to industry partnerships and distribution channels.
By Jon Weisman
The good news for Clayton Kershaw is, he’s healthy.
Not to mention that for the first two innings — six up, six down — of today’s 7-3 loss to Oakland, the Dodger ace made last week’s start look like every bit the aberration we thought it was. Six up, six down.
Then came a third inning which, as much as anything, was reminiscent of the third inning of Game 6 of the 2013 National League Championship Series.
Kershaw allowed two walks, an RBI single and another walk that loaded the bases. Then former Dodger Nick Punto came up, got ahead in the count and began fouling off pitches, just like Matt Carpenter did in his 11-pitch NLCS at-bat against Kershaw.
Punto won this marathon, singling to right field to drive in two more runs, and Kershaw was pulled mid-inning, ultimately charged with five runs.
And by the sounds of it, he was ready to sentence himself to pitcher jail. From Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
… “It’s not fun to deal with,” said Kershaw, who has an 18.00 ERA. “Physically, I feel great. I don’t have any excuses. I don’t know, searching for answers right now. I know it’s Spring Training, it doesn’t matter, but it matters to me.”
Mattingly said he wasn’t panicking.
“The first two innings were really good, then he got out of rhythm and couldn’t find it,” Mattingly said. “Good thing is, it’s Spring Training, that’s why we’re here. He had the same kind of spring last year. He has a level of expectation of always being good. I don’t have a problem with that. He expects to be in midseason form, and we keep working toward that. He gets frustrated. That’s why we love him.” …
On the opposite end of the spectrum was Seth Rosin, who followed his two-inning, five-strikeout outing Wednesday by tossing three shutout innings with three strikeouts today. That included pitching out of a second-and-third, none-out jam in the fourth inning, thanks to an Adrian Gonzalez throwing error.
“This outing is actually more impressive to me than his first outing,” SportsNet LA analyst Orel Hershiser said on the air. “Today, he’s facing some adversity, against a team swinging the bat really well, and he’s still able to get them out.”
Rosin, by the way, was born in 1988, 7 1/2 months after Kershaw and a couple weeks after the Dodgers won the World Series.
Coming in behind Rosin on the highlight reel was Dee Gordon, who had an RBI triple for the second consecutive game, and Andre Ethier and Miguel Olivo, who each had two hits.
By Jon Weisman
Watch the video above, with our new friend Justin Turner at the plate (last year while he was still a Met), because something very cool is happening.
You’ve heard of players taking good or bad routes to balls, or having a quick or slow first step? Ever wondered who can come from behind to catch up to a ball the fastest? Now, Major League Baseball Advanced Media is preparing to quantify that.
The system is being rolled out in select ballparks this year but should be fully operational in 2015.
… MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, who spent 20 years in front offices, including four years as an MLB general manager, said this will remove much of the subjectivity from a club’s own player analysis.
“When you look at how scouting has been done in the past, there’s a lot of subjectivity to the evaluation,” he said. “Some guys I have found have varied, from scout to scout, in terms of their opinion of each player. There is a lot of quality defensive statistics out there, but they’re not completely accurate. A lot of them are dependent on somebody charting, whether it’s UZR or DIPS or Defensive Runs Saved, and they can only go so far. Some players . . . range to their left better, some range better to their right, some come in on ground balls better than others, some have better first-step quickness.
“The exciting thing about this new technology is, you can start to take the subjectivity that is given to you by the scout and blend it with raw data now, and come up with a truer picture of evaluating a player. So when you take that data and compare it to others in the game, you can really find out if that position player is the best at his position. You can measure potential free agents, you can measure current free agents.” …
The technology won’t be limited to defensive applications – it will inform every aspect of baseball. Might be more than some of us can digest, but the possibilities are pretty exciting.
- Matt Meyers of ESPN.com wrote about other presentations at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. This part (though the whole article is worth a read), intrigued me …
… “Will we get to a point where a team moves its best defender to different positions from hitter to hitter based upon analytics?”
That was a question asked by the audience that really seemed to resonate with the panelists.
As Neyer noted, the Pittsburgh Pirates showed last year just how much defensive positioning can help a club when the field staff buys into, and Silver posited that it would only make sense, if you had a superlative defender with a variety of skills, to put him in the space where the ball is most likely to be hit.
So if you’re the Braves and you’ve decided to “shift” Ryan Howard, instead of just shifting everyone to the right, you would put Andrelton Simmons exactly where Howard is most likely to hit it, whether or not that is right next to the first baseman or up the middle. Squadron made the point that it’s surprising that teams don’t flip-flop their left and right fielders more often depending on the hitter, and quite frankly this makes a lot of sense. There are a number of teams on which the guys in left and right have extremely disparate defensive skills, and this is an easy, yet logical, switch. …
- Know who Dick “Turk” Farrell was? If not, it’s time to go to Ernest Reyes’ latest at Blue Heaven, the Dick “Turk” Farrell 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet.
- Dodger farmhand Matt Shelton deserves more attention, according to Harold Uhlman at Think Blue L.A.
- Today in Jon SooHoo.