Spin rates for pitchers


#1

Was watching the Cubs v. Mets game last night and there was a lot of talk about MLB’s new Statcast tracking installed in big league stadiums.

Spin rate is one of the measures Statcast tracks.

Most curves, for example, spin at about 1,500 times per minute. The more spin, the more the ball moves during the pitch…and the more likely batters are to miss it.

Four seam fastballs make 12 complete rotations to the plate, while knuckle balls are 3-4 rotations.

Do you think we’ll start to see this type of in-depth tracking trickle down to the youth levels? At some point here in the next 3-5 years, will “spin rate” be as important as velocity, control, movement and deception?


#2

I think the technology to execute it is a little expensive for the youth game right now. Personally, I would like to see balls and strikes called at the youth level as soon as possible. Really I’d prefer to see it in professional levels as well. Youth hitters in our area get little chance to learn any kind of strike zone because the umpires are everywhere during the games. Both pitchers and hitters could benefit from a solid, repeatable strike zone.

I think that training facilities will be the first place where these kinds of metrics show up. They have more money and the facilities are easier to work with.


#3

If and when the technology becomes available at consumer price points, we will start to see it at the youth levels. As an instructor, I would love to have this technology as it would provide the means to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of certain adjustments just like a radar gun can.


#4

Velo, spin rate and I would love some thing that gives an accurate read in terms of a pitches break in relation to the plate. Rivera’s cutter was great because it broke late not big.


#5

Checking a pitcher’s release point gets you part of the way there. The closer to home you release the ball, the closer to home the break happens. And checking the “tunnel” of a pitcher’s pitches helps keep them from throwing “rainbows” that break early.

I have thought about using a green laser to analyze pitch trajectories. But I’ve never actually tried it.


#6

Yeah.
I have talked to a guy at a golf shop that has a laser tracking thing he uses for golf shots…indoors. Tracks ball speed, club speed, angle of the ball off the tea distance ect.
It tracks it on the screen…same thing you basically see on TV with golf with ball being tracked using green or blue or whatever. The laser is an interesting idea.
The idea of being to get feed back immediately that is accurate. Just not a catcher nodding or someone saying “that broke later”…maybe it did maybe it didn’t. As you said, maybe the break was more pronounced so a person picked it up easier with the naked eye. Getting that immediate feedback of, for example, the cut FB was starting its break at 20-22 feet from the plate, then really focused on release point or messed with the grip a little bit and now it is starting to break at 17 feet. This would be valuable in creating useful reps in practice as well as assisting in positive reenforcement in creating good muscle memory patters and command.
As far as I know something this specific is not out there, but, given the advancement in radar with velo tracking and spin rate ect. I don’t think it would be that difficult to develop. Would anyone pay for it? That is probably the question.


#7

I know PG has partnered up with a company and is starting to use in depth analysis for their reports. I’m not 100% sure what exactly they are measuring, but give it time and pretty soon it’ll trickle down.


#8

We may see the technology come from the golf world. Golf has been well ahead of baseball in the application of technology. It’s why House and his organizations (NPA and RDRBI) collaborate with the Titleist Performance Institute.


#9

That would be great. In a lot of respects, golf and pitching are similar. I think golf has been able to lead here a little on the tech front because there are so many adult participants/weekend warriors who play and have the disposable income to make it worthwhile from a business perspective. Good stuff.