The Los Angeles Dodgers’ use of analytics on defense has steadily risen since Andrew Friedman took over as president of baseball operations in October 2014. With the progressive mindset in place, the outfield in particular has increasingly relied on advanced metrics as part of their game plan.
Such preparations include the use of electronic technology with gadgets such as, a laser rangefinder and GPS system to determine placement for specific batters. Coinciding with that is the Dodgers marking spots in the outfield.
Their defensive strategy angered the New York Mets, who contacted Major League Baseball over the Dodgers’ use of electronic devices and desire to mark the outfield at Citi Field.
It was reported the Dodgers received permission from the grounds’ crew to designate spots in the outfield, which was later reneged. Amid some conflicting details on the incident, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his club did not intend to dig any holes, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN:
“They declined, which is their prerogative, so we made other adjustments,” Roberts said. “There is no range finder during the game. There is no threat to mess up the field and dig up their field. It’s something that in baseball, where positioning has become a top priority, everyone is doing it. People have used it at our place. We’re really not thinking too much of it.”
While the Dodgers’ request was denied, Roberts revealed they have granted visiting teams permission at Dodger Stadium:
Roberts said other teams have also asked the Dodgers if they can paint marks on the Dodger Stadium outfield, and added that those requests have been granted.
In addition to the pregame preparation, Los Angeles has developed in-game strategies for defensive alignment as well. Each outfielder carries a piece of paper in their back pocket with information on defensive shifts, which is permissible.
In Friday night’s contest, cameras caught Howie Kendrick reviewing it during a brief stoppage in play, which for some reason led to speculation Kendrick was looking at a cell phone.