The times, they are a changin’. The bad old Yankees, the bullies who spend freely in free agency with little regard for their financial well-being. That was the previous Yankees narrative, anyway.
The new Yankees are spendthrift, chopping payroll with a cautious eye towards the luxury tax while eyeing a potential windfall of big time free agents in 2014. They are doing things differently, determined to make the most of their considerable riches.
The Yankees farm system hasn’t quite produced to its billing in recent years, with trades and injury limited the yield from the Yanks homegrown talent. But no more! The Yankees are seeking an edge, the kind of edge one can only gain with glorious information.
Earlier today this job posting floated across my desk, advertising a “Trackman Operator” to work at the Yankees low minor affiliates in Trenton and Staten Island. The Trackman operator charts the entire game, updating the system as it pulls its data and ensuring everything is in working order.
Trackman is “a portable Doppler radar system” not unlike Pitch f/x, tracking spin and trajectories for balls in flight. Most commonly used for golf, the system is gaining traction in the baseball world. Tom Verducci looked at Trackman a few years ago for Sports Illustrated, noting some of the key differences in the information it spits back out.
What kind of information might the Yankees glean by using this system on their short-season teams? Looking for areas in need of improvement or keeping on eye on risers who ping specific metrics? Either way, this is an interesting way for the Yankees to approach their minor league development.