Why this matters
The role of data in sport is an ever-growing industry. And with the pressure to win, anything that can improve data-analytics, baseball is seeking the edge to decrease player injury, increase player performance, and give fans more reasons to engage in the game.
The sport of baseball has been a worldwide staple for more than 100 years, especially for the United States. From small talk with strangers and acquaintances to heated debates with co-workers, baseball has found its way into everyday conversation that even the most reclusive of people are aware of the sport.
Throughout its extensive history, the sport has witnessed several developments not only within the league but also with its following. As the league grows, players continue to develop and improve as a result of learning from their predecessors, and every year, droves of baseball fans from all corners of the world are born, be it from a single highlight video that piques someone’s interest and introduces him to the sport, or due to an international player making it to the big leagues and introducing the sport to a remote country.
Of course, the development of the sport of baseball also owes much to the advancements in technology ever since the sport’s inception. Technological innovations in sports aren’t new. It’s only natural that different sports benefit from developments in science and technology, but baseball is one of the sports that maximize the developments of technology, thanks to the savvy management of the MLB, the largest and most prominent baseball league in the world.
2020 may have halted the world of sports and the world at large, but that didn’t stop the continuous development of various technologies that gear to push the sport of baseball forward, for both athletes and the fans. Here are some technologies that are on their way to becoming mainstays for both player development and fan enjoyment:
Gone are the days of having to endlessly practice your swing just to get good at the game. Needless to say, practice indeed makes perfect, but what good is that if you just rely on mere repetition? The SwingTracker from Diamond Kinetics takes care of the rest for baseball players who are looking to improve their swing.
The SwingTracker is an attachable sensor that can fit nearly any baseball bat. It captures and tracks the data from your swinging motion in real-time which you can view through the free SwingTracker app. Through this, batters are able to view their own metrics, both simple and advanced, so that players know what they need to improve on. With the SwingTracker, you wouldn’t have to wait until a batter chokes at crunch time before realizing that he needs to work on his swing. The SwingTracker will have you hitting homers in no time.
- Virtual Reality
Seeing the players give their all right in front of you is a thrilling experience, whether you’re watching on television or from the stands, but the closer you are, the more exciting it definitely is. Of course, baseball isn’t like other sports such as basketball where you can practically sit next to the players and witness the intensity up close. However exciting it may be, the diamond just isn’t built for a deeply immersive fan experience.
Thankfully, Virtual Reality is here to take fans as close to the players as possible. Through VR, fans will be able to virtually see what the players are seeing, giving viewers a unique firsthand perspective on what the players experience throughout the game.
Sportvision’s Pitchf/x is a pitch-tracking system that gathers data from pitched baseballs. Since 2006, all MLB stadiums have Pitchf/x installed which allows for the examination of every pitch and pertinent data such as velocity, spin, and movement.
This technology enables players, coaching staff, and fans to see the nuances of every pitch and every pitcher, and what works and what doesn’t against specific teams and players. If you need another reminder that baseball pitchers are practically superhuman, Pitchf/x data has you covered.
Player performance isn’t merely all about rigorous training and constant practice, nor is it dictated by inherent skills. Talent and determination to improve truly allow professional athletes such as baseball players to rise above the rest and prove that they’re the best in the world, but to achieve the highest level of play possible, keeping track of player health is paramount.
MLB players can wear a wristband produced by WHOOP that will keep track of all their vital signs throughout the various activities they engage in every day. This data can then be used to tailor fit regimens and training styles that will allow for maximum improvement which will inevitably lead to peak performance in the diamond.
KinaTrax is a motion capture system that gathers and provides biomechanics data from actual games. This technology provides players and coaching staff with a look at the mechanics of various in-game movements such as pitching and hitting.
Post-game analyses and the formulation of strategies for improvement are made easier by KinaTrax, as players can see how they move and compare it with the results after the game. Through this, they can see what’s effective and what’s not and can reinforce better habits that will ultimately give them and their team an edge over the opposition.
A revolutionary tracking technology, Statcast measures a variety of in-game data and allows for a scientific analysis of player movement and skills. This enables analytics staff to evaluate players and see who’s performing the most stat-wise on the diamond.
By measuring what was once immeasurable, it’s now easier to settle debates about who are the most skilled players in the game. These questions can be answered by statistics, and Statcast does the work for you.
Although no one could have predicted all that 2020 has been, what lessons will the world of sport take into next year?
We asked some of the best and brightest minds to contribute their thoughts.