It took a Saturday with no college football (besides FCS) for me to clear my brain and put some thought into this whole spin rate thing. I say this as a guy who is not a pitcher and who did not develop his kid as a pitcher, but one who just has to say that I think we have gotten way out over our skis on measuring stuff. Whether it is launch angle, exit velocity, or spin rate, I just think we have made all of these particular metrics mean more than they really should. That said, I am sure there are people on here who are going to disagree and cite studies or stats to back themselves up, while I offer none of that. What I am offering as evidence is common sense (lord help me).

Spin rate really entered the lexicon once we started using advanced radar to measure pitch speeds. Spin rate is measured in rotations per minute (RPM). A 90 MPH fastball takes about 0.458 seconds to reach home plate from 60’6” away. Most pitchers deliver their pitches from closer than than when you account for their stride, but let’s use 60’6” as a baseline. If we use an average spin rate of 2,300 RPM as an example, that would mean the baseball is rotating at 38.33 rotations per second (RPS). A pitcher with what is perceived as high spin would get about 42 RPS. Remember, from 60’6” it’s taking the baseball thrown 90 MPH 0.458 seconds to reach home plate. So it really only has the opportunity to rotate, at 38 RPS, about 17.4 times on its trip to home plate. It’s really not that overwhelming. High spin rate guys get about 19.2 rotations on the ball. Am I missing something here? Rotation certainly impacts pitch movement, but by extrapolating the actual spin into RPM makes it seem like these pitches are attached to a high speed drill...when in fact they really only spin a fraction of that rate given the time it is in the air. Regardless of the spin rate, a batter still is capable of hitting the baseball squarely if they can time it up and get on plane with the pitch. 

While I am at it, my thought on launch angle is “it is what it is. If you try to force it, your K rate will likely increase.” Exit velocity - same thing.

Would like to hear your thoughts, folks. 

Original Post

In the D'Oh department these factors only matter at the elite level of baseball. The danger is that some Dad of a 13 YO little Johnny are going to try to get a 110 lb kid try to increase his launch angle when he could not hit it out of a full size park even with perfect contact. At the elite level the science now is irrefutable, high speed cameras are proving this. 

Until a pitcher reaches the highest levels, there are plenty of other things to perfect before worrying about spin rate.  With that said, when competing at the highest level you want every advantage.  High spin on a 4 seam fastball produces ride.  Ride is the Magnus effect counteracting the force of gravity to make the ball drop less on it's way to the plate.  Notice the term is "ride" not "rise", the ball does not go up although hitters sometime perceive that as their brain is auto calculating the normal drop they are accustomed to seeing. 

Hitters rely on their brain to calculate where the ball is going to be in space at bat contact based on where the ball is when it's 30 feet in front of the plate.  Hitters do not see contact, keep your eye on the ball all the way to contact is a myth.  The goal for a pitcher is to be different from the average of the other pitchers that batter has seen.  If a pitcher throws around the league average velocity of 92 mph the hitter's brain sees that pitch 30 feet away and claculates when and where (on plane and on time) to swing the bat to make contact.  If that average velo fastball has a spin rate up well above the average of all of those other 92 mph fastballs it will cross the plate with an inch or two more ride than the average pitcher.  An inch or two above the plane calculated by the hitter is a swing and miss or a pop up.

Changing plane is the new changing speeds.  It's new to the masses with the availability of technology to study and practice it with real time feedback.  It's not new to some of the best pitchers from past.  I have seen old video of a Nolan Ryan interview where he talks about adding ride to his fastball.

 

ETA: Here is the Ryan clip where he talks about "tight spin" making his fastball drop less than the average fastball.

 

https://youtu.be/D101xq4N1bE

I certainly think that technology and metrics matter to the extent that they help explain and potentially enhance player performance, and help with player evaluation.  This link is to one of the many articles about how the Astros apply technology to real world problems....finding pitchers who are undervalued because they aren't maximizing their best pitches (and minimizing their weaknesses).  

https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/08...hez-justin-verlander

Spin rate is not fake news. I asked two mechanical engineers with college baseball backgrounds sitting next to me.  They said...yes it is real, and a big deal. 

 Agree with dominic85 that this used to be called  just movement, now  movement has a quantifiable number. 

K9 - not sure that an organization recognizing a guys worst pitch, which is getting crushed, should be thrown less is rocket science (hat tip to Houston, NASA and the cosmos). It seems like someone was doing their homework and said “Hey, maybe he shouldn’t throw this one?” Again, nothing to do with spin rate.

Fenway and Dominik85 - Agree spin rate = movement. My point is, in the short period of time a pitch is actually in flight, does it really matter? Extrapolating something that takes less than 1/2 a second to occur out to RPM, is it really relevant? 

 

collegebaseballrecruitingguide posted:

K9 - not sure that an organization recognizing a guys worst pitch, which is getting crushed, should be thrown less is rocket science (hat tip to Houston, NASA and the cosmos). It seems like someone was doing their homework and said “Hey, maybe he shouldn’t throw this one?” Again, nothing to do with spin rate.

Fenway and Dominik85 - Agree spin rate = movement. My point is, in the short period of time a pitch is actually in flight, does it really matter? Extrapolating something that takes less than 1/2 a second to occur out to RPM, is it really relevant? 

 

It does make a difference, quite a bit.

 

 At 85 MPH (125 fps), increasing spin from 1200 RPM (20 rev per second) to 1800 RPM (30 rev per second) adds 5 inches of movement at 60 feet.

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The way my son explains it, the new  high tech system allows pitchers to "reverse engineer" their deliveries to maximize spin rates on the best axis to get the desired movement.

The old way was to "try this" and watch the result. Lots of "try this" and you've maxed out on pitches.

Now, a pitcher can immediately see which minor alteration effects spin and axis. (Of course, this assumes a pitcher can feel, understand, and alter the physiology of his delivery.) 

collegebaseballrecruitingguide posted:

Fenway and Dominik85 - Agree spin rate = movement. My point is, in the short period of time a pitch is actually in flight, does it really matter? Extrapolating something that takes less than 1/2 a second to occur out to RPM, is it really relevant? 

 

No offense do you live in a cave?....clearly not since your posting here. Head over to Drivelinebaseball.com and do some reading. That should help get you informed. 

BOF, I guess driveline is exactly my point. Not going to poke a bear, because again I don’t have a pitcher in my family. The point I am trying to make here is “Is all of hubbub about spin really that big of a deal?” In the MLB last year, it was a record setting year for HRs. So how much is focusing on spin really helping these guys?

BTW, I was born in a cave, that’s why I’m asking a-hole.

Great explanation by many in the posts above.

All of this new technology is just another tool in developing players and more importantly, helping them to understand what they need to do to improve their game.  

What the Astros started is now become the new normal in MLB.  BIg college programs have  pitching labs and employ experts or qualified students to interpret results.  Mid D1 programs likewise are jumping on the bandwagon.  This generation of players are technologically advanced and most if not all can relate and then use the information put in front of them.  

 

collegebaseballrecruitingguide posted:

BOF, I guess driveline is exactly my point. Not going to poke a bear, because again I don’t have a pitcher in my family. The point I am trying to make here is “Is all of hubbub about spin really that big of a deal?” In the MLB last year, it was a record setting year for HRs. So how much is focusing on spin really helping these guys?

BTW, I was born in a cave, that’s why I’m asking a-hole.

It was a record setting year because of the baseball.

You asked for opinions, you have been given great responses.  I also suggest that you do some investigating and that may require visiting Driveline's site.

FWIW, calling a long time member of this community and also my friend, an a$$hole, is really unnecessary.

At my son's HS games there is a large group of dads behind the backstop who believe that hitters should swing down to put the ball into play, that pitchers should run poles after throwing and that baseball players should stay away from the weights.  Typically I nod hello and then make my way down the foul line.  I'm going to do that now.

A "spin rate" story: A few years ago, one of the top analytical minds in MLB was looking over the spin rate data of a college team's pitchers with his friend, the team's pitching coach. The MLB analyst had never seen most of the pitchers whose numbers he was reviewing.

As he went down the list, he stopped at one and proclaimed, "This one is very interesting." The numbers belonged to a little-used pitcher, who was about to enter his red-shirt Freshman year. 

The season after that conversation, the pitcher whose spin rate would put him in the top 2-3% of all college pitchers went on to become one of the top closers in college baseball and a First-Team All-American pitcher.

It's a big deal.

FWIW, calling a long timemember of this community and also my friend, an a$$hole, is really unnecessary.

Maybe starting a post by saying “no offense, but....I’m going to offend you anyway” is a BS move on a board like this, maybe you should look at yourself in a mirror if you think that is ok. Hear from others on here you are real piece of work too, man, birds of a feather must flock together.

TPM posted:

Great explanation by many in the posts above.

All of this new technology is just another tool in developing players and more importantly, helping them to understand what they need to do to improve their game.  

What the Astros started is now become the new normal in MLB.  BIg college programs have  pitching labs and employ experts or qualified students to interpret results.  Mid D1 programs likewise are jumping on the bandwagon.  This generation of players are technologically advanced and most if not all can relate and then use the information put in front of them.  

 

University of Texas just opened the Roger Clemens pitching lab.

(insert joke here)

Baseball has always been a game of adjustments. The current emphasis on launch angle has resulted in more home runs at the elite level of play (college & pro ball).  It has resulted in more strike outs and pop ups at every other level of play. A swing that is too uphill (and most of them get that way in a hurry if that’s what the emphasis is on) leaves a hole at the top of the strike zone that can be exploited by any pitcher. A pitcher with a high spin rate on his FB can accomplish this more easily (assuming he has command) as his FB will stay on plane longer, as others have so accurately pointed out. So is spin rate a real thing? Is it really that big a deal? Are we too caught up in metrics in general? Yes, yes, and yes. 

collegebaseballrecruitingguide posted:
FWIW, calling a long timemember of this community and also my friend, an a$$hole, is really unnecessary.

Maybe starting a post by saying “no offense, but....I’m going to offend you anyway” is a BS move on a board like this, maybe you should look at yourself in a mirror if you think that is ok. Hear from others on here you are real piece of work too, man, birds of a feather must flock together.

OK, first, an attempt to move past this part of the debate as the topic is a good one...

BOF's comment, "do you live in a cave", taken in context with the rest of what he said can be interpreted a few different ways.  He alluded to the fact that you've been on this site for a while, suggesting (I think) that he is surprised that you haven't seen some rather detailed support to the spin science here by now and then offered direction to a solid reference source.  Also, if you pay attention to BOF's contributions, they are rarely if ever offensive.  So I would lean pretty heavily on the much less offensive interpretation.  You responded with "A-hole".  OK, I get the possible misinterpretation.  TPM says "not necessary".  Hardly harsh or offensive on her part.  You then took it up a couple notches and went with "BS", "hear from others.. you are a real piece of work", "birds of a feather".  I'm  gonna have to go with the flock on this one.  Let's move on.

The general result of "more movement" has been touched on.  The "ride" and "tail" have been expanded on nicely.  But I think it is important to look at totality.  With high spin (and a reasonable velo), a 12-9 has a bigger drop and lower bottom, a slider or cutter has more lateral and a good FB has more ride/tail.  When combined with gravity, the high spin curve can be substantially sharper.  Then there is perception.  A hitter perceives movement of a pitch to be more significant than it is.  I can't explain that part but I sure as heck know it to be true, at least for most.  i.e. - the tailing FB DOES look like it rises, etc.  Combine all of these factors in totality and you definitely have a significant factor, despite any limits to the cumulative added revs over the distance of a pitch.  

How much is natural and how much can be manufactured?  At what age/velo does it start to come into play?  I will admit that I am probably more in the camp with CBRG and Adbono on this one.  I certainly believe a pitcher should throw, as much as possible, with a delivery that is natural to him.  I also believe that the trained eye of a good P coach/baseball person can most often recognize spin or lack thereof and steer a P toward adding via different grips, pressures, releases, etc.  That has been around forever.  As someone stated, there was also the "well, this didn't work, let's try this" process.  That said, I think the evolution of the technology combined with learning how best to experiment with and act on the data will allow for a quicker and more thorough learning curve and, thus, improved results.  On the other side of the coin, I agree that it is relatively meaningless at the lower levels where velo won't produce different results.  That said, I think it is still to be determined whether there will be advantages to applying the findings to the mechanical teachings of younger pitchers.  I suspect that eventually, there will be.

Launch angle -  many players at higher levels purposely adjust swings to attain a higher launch angle and many focus on swings on plane and high solid contact rates or just squaring up the ball.  There is give and take.  I think the best approach varies from player to player depending on strength and skill set and how it plays out within whatever environment they play in.  I certainly think an on-plane swing is the best teach for a young developing player.  Adjustments such as launch angle/swing plane can be made later.

Exit velo - much the same as spin rate, I think the technology will eventually lead to improvements in swing mechanics that will allow for better power for the average hitter but not as much for the ones who seem to find the top limits naturally.  Again, context is key.  A hitter should develop his whole swing and approach, not just more exit velo.

I always tried to described baseball as a "game of inches". Spin rate is a big deal, as the extra couple rotations result in an extra couple inches of break/tail/ride etc... which results in less quality contact at the plate. Its not rocket science and its been around a long time, its was just called movement. (personal experience) Anyone that has been drilled on top of their foot (no muscle or padding just bone) by a nasty back-foot slider while swinging for the fences has thought (once the pain and the hoping around on one foot calms down) he spun the bleep out of that one

As for the increase in HR, there are too many other factors related than just the spin rate of a baseball. Baseballs themselves have changed over the years along with the size and approach of hitters. Also pitchers throwing harder than ever, but more importantly living down and away with their fastballs. Anytime a hitter is comfortable in the box = Advantage hitter! Which makes me wonder if the term "launch angle" over the past 10 years or so is a result of hitters trying to adjust to fireballers consistently throwing down and away over the past 10 years or so??? (maybe not, just a thought)

collegebaseballrecruitingguide posted:
FWIW, calling a long timemember of this community and also my friend, an a$$hole, is really unnecessary.

Maybe starting a post by saying “no offense, but....I’m going to offend you anyway” is a BS move on a board like this, maybe you should look at yourself in a mirror if you think that is ok. Hear from others on here you are real piece of work too, man, birds of a feather must flock together.

🛑 

Just watched Moneyball again last night.  This reminds me a bit of the conversations arguing the eye test and "how its always been done in baseball".  As in most areas, the more you know, the more you know.  I don't see technology and information gathering losing hold anytime soon.  The end of last summer, I saw a P5 head coach with a radar gun that also measured spin rate.  I talked to him about it for a minute and he said he had begged to get it early and he was one of the few that had it.  He seemed to think it was a big deal

I have always explained it to my son in terms of playing pool (billiards). 2 round objects hitting each other. It only takes 1/4 to 1/2 inch to turn a line drive or homer into a ground ball of fly out. Just got to make it move a little more or less than they think it will. If you can do that and maintain control,  you will be effective and an asset in college ball.  Of course, he is a contact pitcher. In my experience, with Hs players, most can’t make it move a foot and control it. The ones that can, get drafted. 

Honestly, when I originally saw spin rate in the title of the thread I was thinking more about tennis than baseball.   Tennis is all about spin 24x 7 x 365, every shot you have to evaluate what your opponent has done to the ball.   Some of you that know me well know that I play a lot of tennis.  In this thread, we've discuss spin rate being about measuring movement for pitchers.   There is something else to it...impact   When you are hitting a baseball or a tennis ball that has a lot of spin or movement it is different from player to player.  I've played against some really heavy topspin players (think Rafael Nadal) who hit the ball so different from anybody on the planet that they can almost knock the racket out of your hand because of their unique heavy spin.   Topspin allows tennis players to hit the ball harder and keep it in the court.   The mens and womens tennis tours have been measuring mph, topspin, underspin, net margin, depth, etc and other metrics for a long, long time.      Baseball is catching up, quickly.  Just like Nadal, I've seen MLB pitchers do the same with MLB hitters.   There is one guy (Blake Treinen...Dodgers just signed him) whom I watched many times in person when he was with the Nationals.   He is Mr. Spin Rate.   This guy was busting hitters bats left and right like he was getting a Christmas bonus for breaking bats.   So, where I'm going with this is that it has to do with movement but it also has to do with impact and the opposing players ability to control the ball at impact whether it is tennis or baseball.    The heavier the spin rate the tougher it is to square up a ball, but also control where you want it to go.

MidAtlanticDad posted:
Iowamom23 posted:

I asked my son to explain spin rate to me. He sent me here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e31pYFWtDa8&t=10s

Wow, I am blown away by this.

(Not the video, the fact that your son replied to you.)

This was a point that I was trying to make. It's just another tool in the pitcher's arsenal and not that difficult to understand if presented  properly.

All,

The purpose of the question originally posed was not because I didn’t understand spin rate, as implied above, but was a question as to whether it is the “metric du jour “...and whether it as important a metric as is being made today. I think Fenway’s explanation above is really in line with what I was kind of thinking, and he explained it well. But, and this is a big but, I also think those guys who are locating these pitches would be successful regardless of spin rate, however the spin rate does add an additional benefit. My question, which maybe I didn’t state clearly, was motivated in part by the emphasis on spin rate at the younger ages (high school) where control in general isn’t refined yet for most arms. 

This will be my last post for a while...hope you all have a pleasant holiday season, even the dynamic duo of BOF and TPM...

Spin rate, tunneling etc are useful metrics/feature for those skilled in the art and it can make a signifant reduction in contact against hitters trained to hit 95+ mph pitches with 90+ mph exit velocities. Elite HS pitchers are focusing on those metrics

Additional information for the cave dwellers of the sports world...   

From WSJ: 

The Decade When Numbers Broke Sports

In the 2010s, data and analytics changed the way games are played—for better and worse.

 
 
Brad Pitt (left) played Billy Beane in ‘Moneyball,’ which was released in 2011, at the beginning of a decade that would change sports forever. PHOTO: COLUMBIA PICTURES/EVERETT COLLECTION

But what happened over the last 10 years inside MLB ballparks, NFL stadiums and NBA arenas rendered the sports almost unrecognizable. The games barely resemble the previous iterations of themselves. They have been reinvented in front of our eyes.

The 2000s were a time for the most popular American sports leagues to recognize the power of data. The 2010s were about implementing those analytics and letting numbers dictate strategy. It was an inevitable progression—for better and worse.

“I don’t know if the debate needs to be if it’s better or not,” said Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics’ executive vice president of baseball operations. “It’s just evolution.”

If this was the decade when analytics went mainstream, then the next decade could bring a reckoning. As today’s athletes and executives continue to search for value in numbers, they risk making their games homogenous, interminable and repellent to fans.

But there have been so many fundamental changes to the way baseball, football and basketball games are played that there is no longer any doubt that the nerds have won—and sports will never be the same.

Beane happens to be the person most responsible for this shift in human behavior. His radical approach to building the A’s into a perennial contender last decade was the inspiration behind “Moneyball,” and now a generation of front-office employees have entered the industry having been raised in the data-driven world that “Moneyball” wrought. There’s no turning back now.

“The fact that this happened is not a surprise at all,” Beane said. “Initially, it took longer than I would have expected. But once it gained momentum, it went faster than I would have expected.”

Stephen Curry went from a recently drafted rookie to the most influential player in the game between 2010 and 2020. PHOTO: EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES

For all the drama in the NBA off the court, for example, the league really changed on the court over the last decade.

A profusion of data, wave of analytical executives and generation of outrageously talented players brought the NBA to a mathematical breakthrough many years in the making: 3-pointers are worth 50% more than 2-pointers.

Basketball had been played more or less the same way for more than a century. Then the NBA decided that way didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Triples, DoubledThe number of 3-point attempts per NBAgame increased every year of the 2010sSource: NBA
.3PA/G2010’12’14’16’18010203040

The realization that creating layups, free throws and threes was optimal strategy radically changed the sport. The average number of 3-point attempts per game increased every year of the last decade. At the start of the decade, NBA teams shot 18 threes per game. Now they’re averaging 34 threes per game. The Houston Rockets were the first to shoot 40 per game, and they’re currently inching closer to 50. At the beginning of the decade, there had never been a team that shot 50 threes in any game, let alone every game.

Shots from 15 feet are out. Shots from 25 feet are in. The 3-point line has become the most important strip of paint in sports.

“If you move it back 18 inches, that will impact strategy of our teams,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes represents the future of the NFL. PHOTO: PETER AIKEN/GETTY IMAGES

The NFL went through a similar data binge, from the way teams analyze players to the plays they call, even if gruff coaches still want to deny it. The best way to understand this transformation is to study the record books: Every passing record is owned by someone who’s still playing.

Aaron Rodgers has the best all-time passer rating. Drew Brees has thrown the most touchdowns. He’s also thrown for the most yards. And it doesn’t take a calculus degree to understand why quants have screamed for teams to pass the ball more. It was simple. As it turns out, passing consistently yields more yards.

Riding ShotgunNFL offenses are now built around passing.The percentage of plays run out of theshotgun has skyrocketed.Source: Stats LLC
%2010’12’14’16’18020406080

But the strange thing was how long it took and how many kicks in the rear end it took NFL teams to realize this. As football changed its rules over the last decade to protect quarterbacks and wide receivers, and when innovative offenses from high school and college infiltrated the NFL, passing became more lucrative than it had ever been. There have been so many changes to the NFL’s product that the league in 2010 and 2020 have about as much in common as football and foosball.

It’s not just that teams are passing the ball more. It’s how they’re doing it. NFL teams now take 64.1% of their offensive snaps out of the shotgun. They took 62.6% of snaps from under center a decade ago. The ratio has flipped.

But there is a fundamental tension in the relationship between teams and their league that could forebode trouble going forward. A league is responsible for the overall health of the sport. A team is responsible for winning games.

“The most entertaining thing you can do is win games, and if you’re an executive you should do everything you can to make the smart and most efficient decisions you can make,” Beane said. “If that results in a less entertaining game to one or two people, there will be three people who like it more. Losing games isn’t entertaining for anybody.”

Their objectives don’t always align, and the leagues soon might have to answer the sorts of existential questions that sound absurd to teams, such as how many 3-pointers is too many.

 

Silver put it this way: “I think people are willing to step back, look at it from a fan-first perspective and say: ‘What set of rules will create the best competition and the most aesthetically pleasing game?’”

Mike Trout established himself as the best (and richest) player in baseball over the last decade. PHOTO: MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

That’s also the issue facing baseball as it attempts to balance statistical and technological innovation with the need to put an entertaining product on television every day for more than half the year.

The two sides have been engaged in a brawl for the future of the game. But now it seems clear which side is in the lead—and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is contemplating dramatic changes to rein in the turbocharged rate of change.

Truth in NumbersBaseball's three true outcomes—walks,strikeouts and homers—increased this decadeSource: Baseball-Reference
%2010’12’14’16’180102030402017x33.5%

Home runs and strikeouts have reached record highs because teams realized that sacrificing contact for power ultimately leads to more runs. Bunts and stolen bases all but disappeared once they were cast aside as foolish risks. Starting pitchers work fewer innings and have been replaced by an endless parade of relievers pushing the limits of how fast a human being can throw a ball. Players even stand in different places than they had for a century. Games are longer and slower than they have ever been.

But the biggest impact that numbers have had on baseball over the past 10 years has nothing to do with anything on the field. The data revolution has created a world where front offices, helmed by baseball outsiders, run their organizations less like sports teams and more like Fortune 500 companies, largely revolving around the ruthless pursuit of inefficiencies.

 

The result is new phenomena like “tanking,” with a whole bunch of teams punting on the present for (perhaps) a brighter future, even if fans decide they’d rather choke on peanuts and Cracker Jacks than watch putrid baseball. Four teams last season finished with more than 100 losses, matching a record, and MLB attendance dropped for the fourth consecutive season.

It’s a reminder that sports became undeniably smarter over the last decade. It might take another decade to determine whether they’re ultimately as entertaining.

 

Great article, BOF'er. Loved how it address spin rate so frequently. 

Clearly analytics are hear to stay, and the geeks are ruining the games we have loved. I'd rather see the late 1980's Piston-Lakers or Celtic-Lakers matchup before all this focus on analytics. Man, those were awesome matchups. Hated Rick Mahorn and Bill Lambier, but man they were a great low post duo. 

The Billy Beene story is great, love how he and his guys figured it out. They weren't trying to change the way players played however, more so they were taking advantage of player tendencies, match up advantages , etc and using analytics to maximize that effect. Is he personally a big believer in spin rate? Might be, not sure. 

Glad you are thinking of me though, crawled out of my cave to read the post just for you.

 

Cheers

I think Billy Beane will believe in anything to get more wins ahead of teams that have more monetary resources. McCloskey used analytics to find the 2 meanest and dirtiest SOBs on the block to reduce the percentage of the high probability shots (dunks, lay ups, put backs). 

Kyle Boddy posted:

Pitch physics data, including spin rate, are things I immediately look at when coaching my players at Driveline Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds. It's also a very important metric for our scouts.

So, take that for what it's worth.

This also isn't a new thing. Scouts always said things like fastball has rise, curve breaks late, fastball moves to glove side, curve is 12-6....

Today we have just ways to quantify it better and thus also be more effective than it used to be in changing that stuff because back then pitch design was experimenting with grips but you couldn't see what actually happened with a 30 fps camera so it was a bit of a craps hoot. 

I like the current mlb game btw. Great things always happen when teams have an innovative advantage. The game is always innovation and then consolidation were the playing field is leveled again.

Mid 2000s some teams were a lot better with data so teams like the rays and As beat much richer teams with smarts.

In the early 00s the data field leveled and thus it became a bit boring because anyone did the same.

Then 3-4 years ago some teams started to gain a bit edge  by applying data and science to player development.

In another 5 years this will be gone because that field is leveled too as teams are hiring player development personell from the successful teams and learn their methods.

It is always 4 phases:

1. Denial: we always did it that way and don't need to learn the new stuff

2.acceptance: we are falling behind  and need to change it

3. Trying to catch up: in this phase teams try to find out what they need to do but often still fail and learn what not works

4. Actually catching up: either by stealing personnel, spying or engeering it yourself eventually teams catch up

After that the smart teams need to find something else to get an edge again but most teams are currently in phase 2-3.

 

 

 

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