I hope everyone enjoyed my live blog yesterday from Bloomberg Headquarters in New York City. I would like to thank the staff at Bloomberg for their hospitality and for getting the world of blog media involved in their project. The presentation was phenomenal and I look forward to working with the new tools they have provided and sharing it with everyone.
Each person in attendance was given a one-year subscription to the new Draft Kit and In-Season tools which will officially roll out on 2/18/10. You can pre-order the programs now on MLB.com; the Draft Kit is $19.95, the In-Season kit is $24.95 or the package with both is $31.95. Both include the News Kit as well which will integrate news feeds from all over the internet, including my blog here at Phillies Phollowers and many, many others to provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive information available.
Bloomberg has been a monster in the financial services industry since 1981. Branching out into the sports world, they hope to bring the same innovation and analysis tools they use for finances to baseball. Here are some of the major advantages you will get with the consumer product:
The application runs straight from the internet; there is no software to download and it will not slow down your computer performance. The statistics and data you are able to view are in real-time. This means if a batter hits a home run, that data is available right away and loaded into that players file.
For Fantasy Sports players, there are major advantages to using this program. You are not limited to the stats and comparisons previously available to you for drafting teams and making in-season changes. The program is totally customizable and will work in conjunction with ANY fantasy baseball platform you are currently using. You can control ALL options like points, roster spots and anything else specific to your league or fantasy platform. The program will show you player information based on your specifications and needs, making it easier to draft players or make adjustments.
There are both “watch” lists and “exclude” lists you can add players or even entire teams to. If last year, your fantasy team was held back due to a lack of home runs, steals or whatever, you can sort players to choose from based on criteria you select. These searches can be saved to view later as well. This program can even help you decide which players or positions to draft in which round based on a supply/demand calculation.
If you are not into Fantasy Baseball, you may not need the Draft Kit, but the In-Season kit is invaluable for crunching numbers for us bloggers or for the avid sports fan who wants to analyze the game on a deeper level. Angry at your team’s manager for making what you feel is a bone-head move? Say they put a shift on a batter facing a left-handed pitcher throwing low and inside; go into the program, pull up the batters information and plug in the information about the pitcher and anything else pertinent. You will get a spray chart of that batter’s tendencies in that specific situation with percentages and actual numbers. You can then make an education decision as to how that play was handled. Were 75% or more of that batter’s hits to the side of the shift under those circumstances? If so, maybe it was not such a bone-head move by your manager ;O)
Think about proving your friends wrong; does your friend swear that a particular player can’t hit the inside fastball? Show him and have proof to back it up. Imagine all the fun you can have with tools like these! You can even track a player’s performance by month, against certain teams, against certain pitchers, etc… Basically anything you can think of is available with just a few clicks of the mouse. And you do not have to open 5 or 6 internet windows to do it; it is all right there in one spot with color and shape coded graphics, charts, bar graphs and a variety of other views.
Have you ever gone to the stats page of MLB.com and been frustrated that you cannot run the comparison you want or have to do the math by hand or maybe the stats are totally not available at all? Those days are gone. This program does it all! My only real concern with the consumer product is that the average computer user may find navigating the system difficult. There are SO many options, it might be overwhelming. The people at Bloomberg share my concern and are working hard to develop solid help files, video demonstrations and other educational tools to help make it easier to use for everyone.
I had a similar concern with the Professional product which all MLB teams will be receiving a free 6-month trial of this season. Will all of these old-school managers and coaches take the time to learn how to use this to their advantage? At the Winter Meetings, most of the feedback from the teams was very positive, as it should be. This tool can provide teams with, literally, a statistical advantage over their opponents.
Teams already scout their opponents, but the level of detail this system provides is beyond your everyday scouting report. The spray charts on batters can be put through as many filters as they want; for example, if you want to know how a batter will perform against a right-handed pitcher, during the day in June with an outside curveball thrown, this will tell you. It can be that specific. It can even be specific to the exact pitcher. Can Manny Ramirez hit a Cole Hamels low, inside fastball? And what percentage of the time will he strike out or ground out on that pitch? This will give teams that information, which can be printed out and used during the game to advise the pitcher what to throw or tell fielders where to stand.
Add to all this space-age technology the Biometric security which features fingerprint access to the Pro-system and my mind is officially blown. Some people at the meeting mentioned that they were so excited about the pro-system, they might be willing to sell body parts to have access to it. While I do not recommend this course of action, I can see where the avid baseball fan would be tempted towards drastic measures.
So my suggestion is, give the consumer product a try. I will begin using it as soon as it rolls out and give you additional feedback at that point. I also hope to have some screen shots available soon to give you an idea of what it will look like. The staff at Bloomberg says improvements and additions to the system will be on-going; any and all feedback will be considered. As I have more information, I will be sure to pass it on!