Looking over the fielding percentages of all major league shortstops, I’m not sure where a prospect fielding at .750 would fit in. The lowest in the majors among qualified infielders (2 games played per 3 team games) is Ronny Cedeño’s .955.
But you gotta love the possibilities; The New York Times reports (reg req.) a team of engineers at Arizona State University has developed a robotic shortstop.
The robot cannot hit or throw, but scouts would love its range. When a ground ball is put in play, the camera atop the robot’s head immediately detects movement. A computer within the robot’s aluminum body tells it where to go. As the robot gets in position, it adjusts to the ball’s course, just like any other infielder.
Though the robo-geeks were able to come up with the thing, they’ve yet to give it a name.
Maybe “eRod,” won’t be able to compete at the major league level just yet (or help the home state Arizona Dimondbacks get it together), but from the looks of it, HGH won’t be the only ethical dilemma MLB faces with more methods for “performance enhancing” surfacing.
[The researchers] have developed robotic knees, robotic ankles and robotic tendons, allowing some people with disabilites to function more easily. Someday, athletes may try to adapt robotics to run faster or jump higher. But for now, they are still much more efficient than robots, even in an all-natural state.
And don’t look now but we might be seeing the first-ever robo World Series.
[The engineers] are hoping eventually to affix a basket to the robot so it will be able to camp out under fly balls. They envision someday having baseball skills competitions with different robots around the world.