Stat Crew Records Double-Double

by minton on February 25, 2020

Chicago Cubs baseball legend Ernie Banks was known for enthusiastically saying, “Let’s Play Two!” On a date such as Saturday’s 2-22-2020 you almost have to do exactly that.

The Roanoke College baseball team opened its home schedule with a doubleheader against Elizabethtown. Stat Crew members Luke Elder and Warren Payne were there to operate Track Man, a radar-based data collector that is used in the major leagues and minor league parks. The level of detail is phenomenal.

The above graphic shows the locations of Roanoke pitches in the last five innings of game one, a masterful shutout by Evan Parks. Pitch speeds, spin rates, and angles are recorded and the Track Man software classifies the type of pitch based on these variables. Fastballs are colored black, curve balls orange, and so on. The box is the strike zone, and marks are put on the dots to indicate the result of the pitch (ball, called strike, hit, and so on).

This graphic gives you a sense of how hard the batter’s task can be. The first (tight) set of dots shows the location of the ball where the pitcher releases it. The second set of dots shows the location of the ball a tenth of a second later. The batter needs to have a good idea of whether he should swing at the pitch by now. The final set of dots shows the location of the ball when it reaches home plate. Spin rates have caused a lot of separation in the pitches.

The big hit in game one was a third inning home run by Will Salva. Track Man tells us that this ball traveled 361.8 feet, leaving the bat at 95.8 mph at an angle of 29.8 degrees with 2909 rpm backspin. The pitch was a 81.1 mph fastball with 2017 rpm which reached the plate at an attractive height of 3.17 feet and 5 inches inside from the center of home plate.

While baseball was being played at Salem Memorial Ballpark, the Cregger Center was rocking with two basketball games. As usual, Stat Crew was there to record shot locations and results. Jessica Louros and Jake Beardsley worked the opening game played by the men’s team against Randolph. The above graphic shows the locations and outcomes of the Roanoke College shots. Maroon is a made shot, black is a missed shot, and blue is where a player was fouled while shooting. Caleb Jordan, number 2, had a big game on his Senior Day.

Lauren Heffron and Mackenzie Handschuh took game two, with the women’s team defeating Eastern Mennonite. The Roanoke shot chart is shown above. Modern analytics has indicated that the most efficient shots in the game are three-pointers and shots near the basket, with shots from around the foul line considered inefficient. Notice how both Roanoke teams are taking almost exclusively high quality shots. Go, Maroons!