Cory also explained that we can expect the roll out of Hit-f/x, a system similar to Pitch-f/x that would use the technology already in place to track the initial batted ball data. Trajectory, angel [sic], velocity, etc. measurements would all be recorded but the technology would be limited to just the initial batted ball data. The Hit-f/x system would not be able to track the entire trajectory of batted balls ... I was told that [the Hit-f/x system] is definitely on the radar for the ‘09 season.
We all knew that HITf/x would get here eventually, but I don't think anyone in his wildest dreams ever imagined we'd see it in 2009, which seems to be what the article is suggesting (although if there's a clarification elsewhere in the link that I can't see, feel free to correct me). That just blows my mind in all the right ways.
Now, this isn't ultra-super HITf/x, in that there wouldn't be full trajectory measurements. So it would be difficult (albeit not impossible) to use this data for purposes of defensive evaluation. But for hitters and pitchers, this is exactly what we've always needed in order to complete the picture. Knowledge of a batted ball's characteristics off the bat - primarily velocity and angle - would render subjective classifications like "GB" and "LD" obsolete. It would take away the uncertainty and feed us nothing but cold, hard data. Which pitchers allow the hardest-hit balls in play? Which young hitters are taking a step forward? How much of "true" LD% is skill and how much is luck? What effects do certain park environments have on batted balls? HITf/x has the capability to answer some pressing and hugely important questions that we just haven't been able to tackle real effectively with the tools at our disposal.
These are exciting times we live in. Prepare yourselves for the glory.
Presumably, one of the things that will eventually come out of HITf/x is a "theoretical" BA/OBP/SLG slash line, where hitters are rewarded and penalized for batted balls that either normally drop or are normally caught. This line will, I imagine, show a stronger correlation year-to-year than the actual BA/OBP/SLG lines do. I wonder, how will people choose to deal with screaming line drives hit directly at defenders?* Bad luck, or bad hitting? I'm guessing the latter, but is that really fair? I suppose a lot of work will have to be done in identifying how much control a batter has over the horizontal angle at which he puts the ball in play. God this is exciting. No, you're a dork.
* there's also the matter of hitting into a defensive shift. But now I'm getting ahead of myself.