The scene at the Pitch f/x summit was symbolic of baseball's increasing wonkiness. The 52 attendees — some of them college professors — met to discuss how to improve the system and how to interpret its results. Participants swapped theories about determining the coefficient of drag and made jokes about the difficulty analyzing Boston pitcher Tim Wakefield's knuckleball. Nine major-league clubs sent representatives to the summit, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It isn't clear how many teams are using the data — although some clearly are.
Before this season, Brian Bannister, a Kansas City Royals starting pitcher, noticed that when batters connected with his pitches and put them in play, about 27% became base hits — a figure far lower than the typical 30%. Some analysts said Mr. Bannister was simply lucky. But after checking the data from Pitch f/x, Mr. Bannister noticed batters who'd hit his curveball were much less successful than those who'd hit his fastball. The upshot: his most effective pitch may be a hittable curve.