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Introduction to measuring times in baseball - what and how?

There are two types of times that are typically measured in the game of baseball. These are pop times and run times.

Pop times

Pop time represents the time elapsed from the ball hitting the catcher's mitt to the moment the fielder catches the ball on the base. The typical case to measure the pop time is on a steal attempt to the second base. An average pop time to the second base in the MLB is 2.01 seconds. The best average pop time in the 2022 season to the 2nd was by J. T. Realmuto with a staggering 1.82. It's important to note that the MLB measures the pop time to end at the fielders projected receive at the center of the base. Therefore the times tend to be a bit slower than if you would measure when the ball is actually caught by the fielder.

Pop time is often measured by hand when in practice, but this method is highly inaccurate. A time measured by hand can easily sway from .1 up .2 second which makes all the difference in the world. In a tenth, a hard throw travels close to 13 feet (4 meters) in space. That is why when measuring pop times, using a video camera and a piece of software or tech made specifically for measuring pop times is preferable.

Run times

A good steal typically takes around 3.25 seconds from a normal lead

Run time can make all the difference when trying to get on the next base. Run times can also be deceiving when estimated with a naked eye. The time can also be broken down to reaction time and run time.

Again, when measuring by hand the clock could lie up to .2 seconds which would make about 6 feet (2 meters) in run distance.


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