In baseball, we frequently compare players to the likes of Major Leaguers with statements like “his delivery reminds me of so and so” or “his swing really looks like so and so’s swing.” But so much of that is based on an eye test.
What if there was a tool to help with that?
Insert the MLB Pitch Comparison App – I know, not too catchy and a bit of a mouthful but it’s self explanatory and potentially just a placeholder.
Here is early access to the project: MLB Pitch Comparison App
For each pitch type in a pitcher’s arsenal, this web app allows a player or coach to, within seconds, discover who the top 5 MLB pitch comparisons are for the uploaded pitcher.
This GIF is an example of the tool in action with the results below:
As seen from above, this tool can be used in a few easy steps:
- Upload any bullpen or game CSV file from either YakkerTech or TrackMan.
- Select a comparison type – (1) Bauer Units or (2) velocity and spin rate
- Select desired pitcher from CSV via the drop down menu.
- Press “Submit” and within a few seconds, the app generates the pitcher’s arsenal and his MLB pitch comps.
The metrics used to generate these comparisons are velocity, spin rate, horizontal break, induced vertical break, and spin axis. The purpose of including the option to use Bauer Units (BU = spin rate/velocity) over just velocity and spin rate individually is to allow for pitchers with less than major league type velocity to use this tool as well. It is recommended to use the Bauer Unit option if the pitcher’s fastball is less than 90 MPH and the velocity and spin rate option if the pitcher’s fastball is greater than 90 MPH.
You may now say great, beyond saying “Cool, my curveball is a lot like this Major League pitcher’s curveball” – what is the use of this tool? Well that is up to you, but here are a few potential applications for this tool.
- Attacking Batters: You can see how the Major League pitchers who most similarly match up to one of your pitches use said pitch. How do they find success attacking left handed hitters and right handed hitters with it? How do they sequence it with their other pitches? Does it play better down in the zone or up in the zone?
- Pitch Design (Current Pitches): Say you are trying to improve one of your current pitches in your arsenal and you see that one of your pitch comps has a slightly different movement profile than yours and that MLB pitcher has tons of success with that pitch, now you can have potential benchmarks of how much you want to increase H-break, etc.
- Pitch Design (New Pitches): Say your closest MLB fastball comp has a fastball that plays incredibly well off his change-up. Now you can potentially go into a pitch design session and try and create that change-up for your own arsenal to play off of your fastball.
With this tool, no longer do players and coaches have to use the eye test to say what Major League pitcher most compares to themselves/their player. Now, in seconds, you can answer that question with a quick CSV upload.
Keep your eyes peeled and maybe you could see this MLB Pitch Comparison App join the BaseballCloud arsenal soon.