Apr
18

More science, more baseball, more success

By

Last night, my brother hooked me up with his 2013 MLB Preview edition of ESPN The Magazine. As I was perusing through the articles, one particular piece caught my eye. An author by the name of Anna Clemmons wrote about a sports facility in Foxborough that opened last June. The facility is Mass General Orthopedics Sports Performance Center.

The article begins by discussing Minnesota Twins prospect Andrew Ferreira, standing shirtless on a fake pitcher’s mound with “62 button-size reflective markers attached to his body.” Ferreira throws 25 pitches off of a fake mound in a simulated pitching session. Meanwhile, the facility’s bioengineers gather and analyze huge amounts of data about the athlete under observation.

The 22 high speed LED 3-D cameras reveal arm speed, rotation, but most importantly isolate the movements of various muscle groups and how they behave under duress. The cameras expose inconsistencies in body motions, in addition to tracking velocity and pitch movement. In other words, Ferreira’s session basically represents the strange, albeit fascinating, nebulous where anatomy begins to merge with advanced baseball metrics. What’s more incredible, is that Ferreira’s personal evaluation cost him only $75.

After reading the article, my mind immediately arrived at two conclusions. First, this is pretty awesome stuff – it actually reminds me of the type of innovation that a guy like Ray Kurzweil might endorse. If knowledge is power, than boy, athletes could potentially have a lot to gain. What was once seemingly proprietary (and probably limited) information is now cheap and completely available, and can be accessed by any player looking for a competitive (legal) edge. As the facility notes, their job is not to replace the pitching coach. It’s designed to revolution how players train.

The second thought was that I hope the Yankees are absolutely keeping their eye on this type of technology if they haven’t already begun exploring like options. Obviously player development and injuries are not entirely controllable, and as we all know, setbacks are inevitable. After all, players still have to execute a plan, and injuries can happen to even the most durable guys. Still, if there is any possible way of preserving players and helping them reach their maximum potential, I think it should be explored. A small investment now could pay off in a big way down the road. I would think that nominal cost would pay for itself and then some the first time a player who may not have been able to “put it all together” was able to do so thanks to a different approach.

Anyway, if you get a chance, check out the website. It’s cool stuff and it’s definitely the future of sports.

Categories : Musings

21 Comments»

  1. Nick says:

    Its not the weekend, GO HOME!

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

      This is fascinating stuff. If you disagree, don’t bother commenting on it.

      • Bob Buttons says:

        I’m guessing he’s just kidding, but it wouldn’t be surprising for a teacher to hate Thursdays.

        In fact, I think a research showed that students are most likely to be sent to the office on Thursdays.

      • ahh says:

        sounds like someone has a case of the mondays.

  2. Bob Buttons says:

    Maybe they can finally figure out what the hell happened with Joba!

    There, I’ve said it.

  3. trr says:

    where are we going with all this?

  4. Interesting topic/article, but (some constructive criticisms) I would implore you to structure it a little better. The ending just kinda falls off a cliff, not really a clear conclusion.

  5. CS Yankee says:

    Seems like a bunch of spoiled brats commenting today…welcome the volume and the info. Cool stuff.

    Mike can’t remain the one-arm RABster writer…the series preview and DotF were the best of any site. Appreciate everything because who knows when anything can change everything.

  6. Mike says:

    Science SUCKS and do you Saber losers !!.

  7. Dalek Jeter says:

    If I’m Cashman I require every pitcher in the organization get this work up done.

  8. Rick says:

    While interesting, this isn’t at all new. A lot of this has been going for years. Previously, it was used to determine whether athletes (not just baseball players) were pre-disposed to injuries. It would encompass analysis ranging from proper running technique to pitching mechanics, all the while monitoring the stress on different areas of the body. For example, they could look at a pitcher’s throwing motion and analyze the torque on an elbow or a shoulder. Particularly, this has been around forever in basketball trying to focus on a player’s knee and what happens when they jump/land.

  9. Mo says:

    Love the article.

    SEND BETANCES!!! and maybe bring brackman along also, i’ll pick up the $75 tab

  10. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    I wonder if the evaluation cost runs concurrently with talent? That would explain Andrew Ferreira’s fee.

  11. sverlyn aberfelty says:

    Dr Andrews and others have been doing this for years- in fact many of the Yanks Mil’ers have had the analysis ( not that it did much good! )

  12. YanksFan says:

    It was an interesting article when I read it. I also thought back to Rick Peterson doing something like this also. Not as pitching coach of the A’s/Mets but after he was let go by the Mets. This could be the baseline to see how a P’s arm/elbow/shoulder are doing similar to the concussion test.

    I would tend to believe that the NYY are doing something. Just beause we don’t hear/read something that Cash and Co don’t try to improve the team in any way possible.

  13. Awesome blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of
    any community forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  14. What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this site regularly, this website is really pleasant
    and the people are truly sharing fastidious thoughts.

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