Episode 14 of the BN Podcast: Let’s Talk PITCHf/x Data with Harry Pavlidis and Make Ourselves Smarter

bnpodcastimagesmallYou had to wait a little longer than usual, but it’ll be worth it …

It’s the fourteenth episode of a super awesome podcast featuring me and Sahadev Sharma (and a guest!). You can listen to the podcast there below, or download it for later listening. You can also subscribe via iTunes. Here’s your iTunes link, and you can also find it by searching in the iTunes store. For those of you who use other feed-catching services, here’s the podcast feed. For those of you just tuning in who want to catch up on prior episodes, here’s the whole lot.

As always, you can send questions, comments, etc. to the official podcast email address (podcast AT bleachernation DOT com) if you want your thoughts included on a future show. Today’s set hits on the Wrigley renovation, Alfonso Soriano’s trade value, and Dan Vogelbach’s weight.

But the focus this week is our first ever guest: PITCHf/x guru and all-around smart guy Harry Pavlidis. You may know his work from Brooks Baseball and Baseball Prospectus, or from his occasional beer-related tweets.

With Harry, we dig in deep on PITCHf/x – what is it, how is it tracked, how is it used, what does it tell you, etc. – and then wax philosophical and moralistic on performance-enhancing drugs. Harry and Sahadev have a unique take on the issue (with which I don’t entirely disagree), and you’re going to want to check it out. You’re going to want to hear the PITCHf/x stuff, too – the data being collected and analyzed around baseball (and available for you to check out if you’re so inclined) is going to amaze you.

Late in the episode, after Harry departed, we also talk a bit about the value of building a team around the manager, and the long-term role/value/projectability of “core piece” Darwin Barney.

And, for those wholly unfamiliar with PITCHf/x – or those who want to understand it better, in conjunction with listening to the podcast – Harry offered up some useful links that you should check out:

PITCHf/x data pitcher profile (showing Justin Verlander as example).

PITCHf/x data hitter profile (showing Joey Votto as an example).

Brooks Baseball Player Cards. (Here’s Jeff Samardzija’s – overflowing with data.)

The PITCHf/x leaderboard.

The PITCHf/x matchup (pitcher versus hitter) analysis tool.

Example Arizona Fall League TrackMan pitch data (2011).

So, now, the podcast. Enjoy:

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

17 responses to “Episode 14 of the BN Podcast: Let’s Talk PITCHf/x Data with Harry Pavlidis and Make Ourselves Smarter”

  1. Harry Pavlidis

    BYI That AFL data is not PITCHf/x but TrackMan.

  2. Harry Pavlidis

    BYI? Did I just merge BTW and FYI? Do I get royalties if people use that?

    1. TonyP
  3. Norm

    Harry’s the man by the way.
    Great taste in beer and coffee. Follow him for that.

    Oh, the pitch f/x stuff is excellent too.

  4. ETS

    I’ll have to listen when I get home.

  5. Joker

    Brett – completely off subject I know, but the Pearl Jam fan club lottery is over and SQUUUUUEEEEEEAAAAALLLLLL! I’ve got a pair of Field/Lower Box Seats.

    1. CubsFanBob

      just wondering do you remember what the price break down was like for the PJ tickets ?

      1. Joker

        The Ten Club tickets were $168 for a pair of Field/Lower Bowl seats and $116 for a pair of Upper Bowl seats. General Admission (which was just for fan club members and not open to the public) was also $168. Only sold in a pair and limit one pair per member if your name was chosen in the lottery that was held.

        1. CubsFanBob

          Thanks, I am in on the Season ticket presale Feb 6th so this gives me an idea at least. Seems about norm from past concerts.

  6. justinjabs

    Dang! In class today, so I’m totally going to lose the say-what-Sahadev-is-drinking contest this weekend.

    1. justinjabs

      *week

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  8. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I think 2013 is very important for a few players:

    #1. Darwin Barney, who won a gold glove, but had a .299 OBP (hitting in the 2 and 8 hole)
    must improve dramatically to earn a spot on the team in 2014 when Robinson Cano, Alexi Casilla, Aaron Hill, Omar Infante, Martin Prado, Chase Utley and Ben Zobrist will be free agents and whose hypothetical signing would be the biggest leap in wOBA at a position on the team.

    #2. Brett Jackson, must cut down on his strike outs (duh). The glimpse we got at the end of the season last year was to teach him a lesson. It apparently sunk in. His statements prove he’s motivated. At his ceiling, he can be a 30/30 guy that can invigorate a team’s offense, but at his worst, he’s a #7 hitter with some pop that can get on base if he’s not chasing pitches.

    #3. Josh Vitters, is still young for where he’s at in this organization and needs to adjust on his time. You have to believe that since we’ve been linked to acquiring Olt, he’s going to be moved to LF where his average glove will profile better there. His bat could make him an everyday player, but if the lineup push comes to shove, he could platoon at LF/3B or get pushed out altogether if Greg Rohan ends up being the everyday LF.

    I think Jorge Soler will leap through the system and be our starting RF in 2014, but I have my doubts about Baez shooting up as fast. I believe his skill set profiles better at 2B, but if we intend to make a big free agent splash, he could very well end up at 3B and making it that much easier to trade other prospects i.e.,

    CF Jackson (L) / Sappelt
    3B Baez
    2B Cano (L)
    RF Soler
    1B Rizzo (L)
    SS Castro
    LF Rohan / Hairston
    C Castillo

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