FlatGround by PitchingNinja

Consultant posted:

Cabbage Dad:

Maybe your son can meet Rob Williams at the SSK booth. He returned yesterday from Australia our 35th journey to the Pacific Basin. It was 35 years ago that Dick Case USA Baseball introduce me to the International game.

Bob

Goodwill Series Inc

Hi Bob!  I'll mention that to him.  Don't know if you recall but he came up and played in one of your tourneys for Rob once many years ago at SJCC.

Hey, that's me!

Yep, we're going to add levels when it comes to a web site/app...and many many other features. We haven't even thrown out the first pitch yet (just chalked the lines).  But the other important part is I want all pitchers on an equal footing initially, so they feel, at least on twitter, that they had their chance to be seen.  There have also definitely been very high level guys tweeting video (looking to be picked up by MLB organizations) that I've retweeted also using my PitchingNinja account to draw even more interest to them.

And, I pinned a tweet to try to reduce the number of 10 years who were posted initially (I want to make it clear that it's for advice only from the coaches who follow)….in my mind, there's no thing as a showcase or "exposure" for a 10 year old.  But I want the coaching community to be able to help younger kids who may not have the $ to get access to good coaching.  Those will not be retweeted if it looks like it's for exposure or dad brags (unless it's a 10 year old I can use as a model for something to preempt even more questions).  Parents of younger players should be in asking and listening mode vs bragging mode.  Great coaches like the Driveline folks, Eric Cressey, Lantz Wheeler, Alan Jaeger and MLB guys like Lance McCullers, CJ Wilson, Marvin Freeman, Eric O'Flaherty all are followers there and have chimed in with advice for pitchers.  How cool is that for a parent to have access to that quality of material directly from the source....for free.  Sure, there's the usual social media losers who troll, but the community will drown them out (and I'll block them--I've only had to do that once so far).

Bottom line, I wanted to help as many players feel like they got a shot.  That they weren't passed over because their family didn't have enough money for a showcase, or because they just missed their one opportunity. We actually just had a 20 year old kid, who didn't pitch in college, find a school to due to being posted on FlatGround.  I was kinda shocked...but I also couldn't be happier (or prouder of the idea).  He would have fallen through the cracks. He didn't!  That's one big reason I started this. 

Over at PitchingNinja, I tweeted out 2 independent league guys throwing 102mph.  Both got signed and had a bit of a feeding frenzy from MLB organizations due to the tweets.  Now if guys throwing 102mph "fell through the cracks"...how many guys throwing 88mph do?  Or kids that improved without anyone ever seeing them since junior year of HS?  I just wanted to help pitchers be seen, for free, to prevent their Uncle Rico moments.  At the worst, now you know you were put out there to be seen. 

It shouldn't be all about paying $800 for a showcase, $1000 for flights, hotels, food...  What if you can't afford it?  What if your family saved up for a year and you had a crappy day or were sick?   I see it as a supplement for most pitchers for showcases, not a replacement, coaches will still want to see you at some point).  But also a way to open a door that wasn't there before.   I'm lucky, $ was never a hurdle for my kid--but I saw so many along the way who had to make ridiculous sacrifices.

The other thing is what if your travel team goes to a large national tourney with college present, you're a PO, they're saving you, and the team gets knocked out in pool play?  You leave the tourney without ever being seen.  Now, your coach can take a few minutes, find a bullpen and a gun, and produce a video with a camera phone in 10 minutes--and you can get some exposure from that tourney.  Fewer PO'd PO's! 

I want to blow up a lot of what I don't like about recruiting and scouting...and try to level the playing field both in the US and Internationally.  We'll see what happens but I'm gonna give it my best shot.  Baseball shouldn't be a rich kids sport in the US and there shouldn't be as many silos and inefficiencies and walls for players.  I've also created a network of facilities across the country (now over 13 pages worth) who have agreed to give FREE access to a pitcher trying to produce a video to be tweeted @FlatGroundapp (includes a gun and a bullpen space, and sometimes free Rapsodo reports as well). 

Any way, I also have been here at HSBaseballWeb for a long time under a different handle.  But I wanted to keep this separate since it's a different organization (the other was for me as a dad and my kid, who is pitching in college now).  I love this community.   

Rob  AKA PitchingNinja AKA Founder, FlatGround.

 

 

 

 

 

FlatGround posted:

 

Over at PitchingNinja, I tweeted out 2 independent league guys throwing 102mph.  Both got signed and had a bit of a feeding frenzy from MLB organizations due to the tweets.  Now if guys throwing 102mph "fell through the cracks"...how many guys throwing 88mph do?  Or kids that improved without anyone ever seeing them since junior year of HS? 

 

Bingo! 

Kudos to you, it's a great idea and will help a lot of kids.

With all due respect, your implication that your tweets about 2 102mph pitchers (whose Indy teams make $$ from signings) caused something is akin to travel ball teams PR about a guy who once pitched for them going in round 1.

That said, your business plan has potential to have sucess. Good luck!

Actually, to be clear, I was making the opposite point.  I thought it was amazing they fell through the cracks, not amazing the job I did.  I certainly wasn't saying "You need to join because I was so good at helping dudes throwing 102 mph find a spot--you should be like them"... that would be the lamest, most unrealistic sales pitch ever.  

"Now if guys throwing 102mph "fell through the cracks"...how many guys throwing 88mph do?  Or kids that improved without anyone ever seeing them since junior year of HS?  I just wanted to help pitchers be seen, for free, to prevent their Uncle Rico moments.  At the worst, now you know you were put out there to be seen." 

A more realistic scenario would be this kid getting contacted and committing to play baseball at a school after we tweeted it out (which he did--and frankly I didn't expect it).    https://twitter.com/Yasnier13/.../1081625479986233345 

Or like this: https://twitter.com/PrestonOrr.../1083375714596995072

Either way, I know some of baseball is filled with overly-hyped stuff to separate you from your $.  Totally agree with you.  I just wanted to be clear, that I wasn't hyping my "services."  Twitter is free.  I just have a great group of followers there who may be able to help (for free).  It's the pitchers who do the work.  

This article is worth reading. Clearly the pitchers involved think it helped:

https://www.sporttechie.com/th...gninja-can-help-you/

Quote:

"The @PitchingNinja tweet created enough buzz that the Orioles selected Grover with the first overall pick in the Triple A Rule 5 draft earlier this month. Of the impact of social media, Grover said, “Honestly, probably almost 100 percent.”

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"The Milwaukee Brewers had scouted Dula before, but the social media buzz around the pitcher created a sense of urgency. The club then signed Dula, announcing the acquisition on Tuesday.

It definitely helped,” Dula said of Cripsey reaching out to Friedman. “Without him doing that, my agent, Josh, probably would never have seen me or heard of me. There’s no telling what could have happened.”

 

Wow interesting stuff.  I am on Twitter but admit I don't totally get it all of the time LOL.  One question I have is, will there be overload - i.e., so many posts that good players still fall through the cracks so to say, given the sheer volume of pitchers posting?  Regardless, it seems like a great resourse and good way to help younger pitchers learn.

"One question I have is, will there be overload - i.e., so many posts that good players still fall through the cracks so to say, given the sheer volume of pitchers posting?"

Yes, that definitely could happen.  Though, coaches do have the ability to scroll through videos in a lot less time than sitting through a several day showcase or tourney & watching pitchers. 

For example, a former college pitching coach posted this: 

https://twitter.com/Coachranso.../1088054833083572224

We will be creating the ability to search back through videos via a portal (with specific search criteria), which will alleviate some of that too.

So, hopefully we can mitigate some of the volume concerns.  [Also, some coaching staffs and MLB organizations are tasking individuals with keeping up with the feed which should help.]

Additionally, I personally look at all videos, so if I see one that seems to be falling through the cracks (as in, this pitcher should have gotten interest), I'll bump it.   In fact, that happened to the son of a poster here, who DMd me...and after it was bumped the video got a ton of interest.  Sometimes it's just in the wording of a tweet.

Good point though and something we're keeping an eye on.    Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but just know that I'm trying. 

 

Our HS coach posted a video of my kid and another player from his team.  The video was from a warm up pitch and wasn't even very good.  He has had 2 Juco's reach out to him and has a phone call set up with another one tomorrow.  The other kid had a couple of schools reach out to him and one was a pretty good D1.  I'd make sure this is part of your recruiting strategy.  Coaches are using it and it is free.

If your son is a pitcher and is looking to get recruited, you absolutely MUST use Flatground.  My son is going to be a grad transfer next season and he has received more interest (calls, texts, DMs etc) than he had during his recruiting from both high school and JUCO.  He has heard from small schools to the biggest D1 programs out there.

What am I missing here?  It’s a Twitter feed—not sortable, not really searchable, generally chaotic and posters’ velo claims aren’t verified. (We all know about guys throwing 90-92 who are actually topping at 85 mph when someone gets a decent gun on them...)  How could a coach seeking pitchers find this useful?

Chico Escuela posted:

What am I missing here?  It’s a Twitter feed—not sortable, not really searchable, generally chaotic and posters’ velo claims aren’t verified. (We all know about guys throwing 90-92 who are actually topping at 85 mph when someone gets a decent gun on them...)  How could a coach seeking pitchers find this useful?

First, adding velo is key.  The new pocketradar is awesome for that.  My son has received multiple offers already, yes just from video.  The big schools (power 5), call and text regularly and are trying to schedule official visits or come out and watch him throw a bullpen.  

Interestingly, most of the schools are the ones Kyle Boddy has spoken about being big into things such as Rapsodo, Edgertronic, Motis, etc.

 

Chico, as Suds said, including a radar gun, Rapsodo, Blast Motion, etc. is highly important at @flatgroundapp (pitching) or @flatgroundbats (hitting side).  Every coach, including me, has been through situations where a kid "claims" he threw a certain velo.  It has to be verifiable.  You can get exposed for good and bad...lying about stuff is a way to get crossed off recruiting lists quickly and ruining your rep.  

That being said, gathering something from a video (how a player moves) and other measuarables (height/weight) is pretty easy for someone who has a lot of experience.  Since the player is on social media, you can also look at other posts he's made to see some insight into the player.  Additionally, coaches double check what they see with the player's coach, online stats/rosters, etc.  It's really not just "taking a player's word for it" and getting an offer. 

Bottom line, you may not know how magnets work, but when you see them work, it's undeniable they do.  I know a lot of "old school" parents may not get it.  But it works, and there have been hundreds of offers made in under 2 months (as well as pros being found).  Go through players on there, click on tweets and see the responses from coaches.   For example: 

https://twitter.com/PrestonOrr.../1098013692850065408  

https://twitter.com/wlavendier.../1098665316987461632

https://twitter.com/wlavendier.../1099008737698672640

https://twitter.com/r_j_anders.../1091116709572956167

Or just pick random good players on the FlatGroundApp or FlatGroundBats account and see the responses from coaches.  

In fact, it creates a reverse feeding frenzy for players (like a bread crumb dropped in a heavily stocked pond) vs traditional fishing where a player is hoping a coach "bites."   Teams are used to sitting back and waiting and being in control (often watching so many games that they find reasons to NOT like a player), but this kind of prevents that and causes the competitive juices to flow on the coaching/recruiting/scouting side.

In any event, it's one of those cases where FlatGround isn't selling anything...because it's free.  Players or parents who don't want to use it, are welcome not to.  But, just go in knowing that you may be ignoring social media at your peril by relying on old school techniques to be seen--and fishing in a limited pond with overfed fish.  

Not only may you get seen by coaches and scouts, but I'll leave you with an awesome story of a 9 year old player getting seen by Alex Bregman, getting invited to go to Spring Training (Because of a video on FlatGroundBats)...and going/hitting with Bregman.  So not only is FlatGroundApp and FlatGroundBats helping players get scouted/recruited but it's also fulfilling little kids' dreams.

https://twitter.com/BenAscone/.../1099193489353510913

https://www.mlb.com/cut4/alex-...g-player/c-304311122

I think it is an incredible resource and no respectable coach is going to contact a pitcher who makes velo claims without reputable equipment verification (as flatground already stated). My only problem is when young players post and ask for advice. As I have learned in a very short period of time, there is far more poor coaching advice then good. If your son (pitcher) decides to post and starts receiving advice, please be careful. I am in the process of correcting a lot of bad coaching with our HS pitchers. It is frustrating because there are coaches on staff who will contradict my work (not intentionally) but because they want to help. Problem is they are making my job tougher! 

On side note, when I first started following recently, the first pitcher I saw was LHP who was picked up by the Rangers. Same organization that a good friend/mentor had recently been hired by as PC. He said they found him on twitter then had a scout/s visit and see him throw live.

Thanks for helping players achieve their dreams flatground!

 

Anything that helps players get noticed is welcome. But stories of a handful of guys throwing 99 aside...  Do college coaches really have time to wade through posts by pitchers from elementary school age through their 20s, with no way to direct a search by HS year, by region, or any other criterion?  Just doesn’t seem like an efficient way to find pitchers.  

And CoachLD, your point is an important one. There are so many opinions about pitching out there (even limiting the pool to highly knowledgeable folks) that I wouldn’t want my kid taking advice from unknown posters on Twitter. 

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They do get some great advice as well. My son also posted some changes he is making and has heard from former major leaguers, minor league coaches, college coaches and guys that own big velo/performance places. Yes some of the people that responded had some “odd” advice, but it really was more the exception than the rule. Also, most of them replied to him via direct message and then via text. 

Suds posted:

They do get some great advice as well. My son also posted some changes he is making and has heard from former major leaguers, minor league coaches, college coaches and guys that own big velo/performance places. Yes some of the people that responded had some “odd” advice, but it really was more the exception than the rule. Also, most of them replied to him via direct message and then via text. 

I am assuming you and your son know more then the average parent based on his experience and level of play. However, most HS players/parents I talk with don’t have a clue so any advice, good or bad, is considered helpful. As for the level of experience that these individuals have who are making recommendations, I would still be skeptical. I just watched a YouTube vid the other day where Mariano Rivera was helping some young pitchers. It was horrible. He talked about pointing the elbow of the glove hand at the target during motion. WT$!? Nobody does that, including Rivera!

Just trying to help parents/players understand that it is important they do their homework with any recommendation received via social media. Does not mean there are not some gems of info out there.

Chico Escuela posted:

Anything that helps players get noticed is welcome. But stories of a handful of guys throwing 99 aside...  Do college coaches really have time to wade through posts by pitchers from elementary school age through their 20s, with no way to direct a search by HS year, by region, or any other criterion?  Just doesn’t seem like an efficient way to find pitchers.  

And CoachLD, your point is an important one. There are so many opinions about pitching out there (even limiting the pool to highly knowledgeable folks) that I wouldn’t want my kid taking advice from unknown posters on Twitter. 

I think it is more of a - lets scroll and see if anything catches our eye - type deal. It doesn't hurt to post and it doesn't hurt to scroll thru. There is a lot and it is tough to sift through, but all it takes is somebody to send a link or tag a coach in the comments and they can take a look.  It's not efficient, but it can only do good.

I think it can be very useful for lower level programs, who might not have had access to some of these mid 80s guys clearly looking for any interest. D1s are always going to do their thing and juniors throwing 91 don't need it, but for the in between guy throwing 84, there could be a school watching that they would've never thought to email.

Short answer, its a long shot, but some coach can see you from the line at the DMV if they want to, so it doesn't hurt. 

 

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