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Brandon Matthews is the current hitting coach at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin, Virginia. He has coached at many different levels of baseball including high school and college. He played collegiately at Chowan University and has been coaching baseball since he was 20 years old. Brandon is a proponent of Performance-oriented & data-driven player development. On January 1, 2019, Brandon joined the Baseball Rebellion team as a writer and content contributor for Baseball Rebellion.
Reach out to Brandon on Twitter: @Bmatt0416
Blast Vision by Blast Motion is a game changer for developing hitters on a BUDGET. Blast Vision is a $10 app that records and tracks launch angle, exit velocity, and estimated hit distance of batted ball events. The app records this information using the camera of an iPhone or iPad. This allows coaches and players to have the same information that would normally require really expensive hardware and software.
Hitters can create a session each time they hit. During a session, each swing is video recorded and clipped with the metrics overlaid. At the end of a session, a spray chart is automatically created that links each batted ball location to the corresponding swing video and metrics. Additionally, the hitter's average metrics are automatically calculated.
Data is useless until it's put to use. So how is the information useful and how can you use it to develop hitters?
These terms are all directly related to each other. Exit velocity measures how hard the ball is hit off the bat. Launch angle measures the trajectory of the ball coming off the bat. These two factors create hit distance. Ideally, we want to discover each hitter's strength (peak exit velocity) and create consistency (average exit velocity) while hitting the ball (launch angle) with as much damage as possible. Along the way, we will also be able to identify possible weaknesses among our hitters.
Using information from MLB Statcast (Baseball Savant) we can find out what batted ball events produce the highest batting averages, slugging percentages, and weighted on-base averages.
For example, launch angles between 10-15 degrees saw some of the highest batting averages during the 2018 MLB season:
While the highest Home Run Percentages were between 25-32 degrees:
If we know a hitter's peak exit velocity (power ability) we can train their batted ball events to maximize their chance to get on base and do damage. A hitter who has a peak exit velocity of 85 mph and an average exit velocity of 75 mph would maximize his or her results in the 10-16 degree range.
A hitter who demonstrates more raw power and may peak at 100 mph while averaging 85 mph would do more damage in the 17 - 30-degree range.
Since Blast Vision records this information, we can use it to train and develop hitters accordingly while adding value and purpose to cage sessions.
Want to see specific examples of data collection and how it can be used to develop hitters? Sign up for BR Premium to see Developing Hitters with Blast Vision: Part 2
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