Category Archives: Methods

Field testing the motusTHROW

We went up to SmartKage headquarters in Tyngsboro, Mass., and put the sleeves on Nate, a local high school junior. We then fired up Motus Global’s bullpen mode – first in the new motusTHROW app, and then in the legacy mThrow app. At the app’s direction, Nate threw a mix of fastballs, curveballs, and changeups. A voice from the iPhone instructed him which pitch to throw, whether to throw from the windup or the stretch, and what part of the strike zone to aim for. Each of the two sessions consisted of 21 pitches, simultaneously tracked by SmartKage’s PITCHf/x system.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

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Testing the Axe Bat’s claims

Collaboration with Jeff Long and Dan Kopitzke

To date Baden Sports, the parent company of Axe Bat, says it has backed up these claims through ergonomic and biomechanical research. The most extensive study on their product, completed by a team at UCLA, exemplifies much of their support for these claims. You can read the results of that study as it applies to the claims above on their website here, and you can also read more details from the full study here.

We wanted to take it a step further though, performing an independent study in a real world setting. Specifically, we wanted to look at whether the Axe Bat stood up to the performance claims that they make.

Read the rest on Baseball Prospectus (my first article there!)

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MLB approves four wearables for on-field use in 2016

Two of the systems — Motus Global‘s motusTHROW, which tracks workload and stress for pitchers, and Zephyr‘s BioHarness, a monitoring system that combines heart rate, respiration, and accelerometry — were approved for in-game use. Two bat sensor systems — Diamond KineticsSwingTracker and Easton‘s Power Sensor Motion by Blast — were approved for on-field use during events like batting practice, but not for use in-game. The approval also extends to minor-league games, according to Motus Global CEO Joe Nolan.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

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Zepp, Old Hickory unveil “smart bat”

Just two months after the first prototype was shown to the public, sensor manufacturer Zepp unveiled a “smart bat” at an event at the Angels‘ spring training facility in Tempe last weekend.

The smart bat (officially the Mike Trout Old Hickory Smart Bat Powered by Zepp) features Zepp’s sensor integrated into the handle of an Old Hickory wood bat. The Tennesse-based bat manufacturer works with several MLB players, including Mike Trout, who worked with his two sponsors to help bring the smart bat to life.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

2016 college baseball season preview

Last year, I introduced my open-source college baseball database (which I’ve recently updated), and showed a few example applications. I looked at win probabilities, how the new flatter seams helped increase offense, the stolen base breakeven point, and the value of bunting (honest).

But this time, I want to use someone else’s data. Chris Long (now with the Detroit Tigers) has his own collection of useful college baseball tools on his GitHub. Let’s use them to generate a season preview.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

World Baseball Classic qualifiers open in Sydney

Sixteen teams will compete in the tournament next spring. Twelve of those slots are already filled based on teams’ performance in 2013. The last four slots will be decided this spring and fall. Four double-elimination tournaments (each between four different countries) will be contested, with the winner advancing to the next round. A preview of each tournament featuring our Elo rankings is below.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score