March 25, 2023

The first pitching machines date back more than 100 years. Obviously, things have come a long way since that gunpowder-fueled wounding machine debuted at Princeton, but most modern systems are more or less the same. A ball is dropped, either manually or mechanically, into one or more spinning wheels that push it toward the battery at high speed.

It does the job, so why quibble, right? But there is a lot of potential room for innovation here. Advances in artificial intelligence, statistical tracking, advanced metrics, and robotics can come together nicely for a classic 21st century turn. This is the first time I’ve seen the Trajekt Arc, but the product seems to speak for itself. This is a pitching robot designed to learn and recreate real-world pitching from real-world pitchers.

sports ran to a nice place Another week on how the Cubs used the system to mimic Madison Bumgarner in practice. The system adjusts to the World Series hero’s left arm release point and displays an image of the Bearded Rattlesnake pitcher on its display. It’s not quite the same as facing him on the pitch, but it will work in a pinch anyway. “It’s fucking incredible,” the story quoted a team official as saying that the locker room was full of blue.

Image Source: Trajek

According to parent company Trajekt Sports, seven of MLB’s 30 teams are currently using the robot. Meanwhile, St. Louis-based sports data company Rapsodo claims all 30 companies use its services. Earlier this week, the two companies announced a partnership to bring a wider range of pitch variants to the system.

Lapsodo says:

The user simply adds the pitch feature in Trajekt Arc and the machine replicates the pitch. Trajekt Arc takes a series of test pitches prior to practice, and Rapsodo’s PRO 3.0 will measure pitches and give Trajekt Arc real-time feedback to compare the metrics they want with the ones they measure. Some of these metrics include speed, spin, movement, and strike zone location. Once the data is captured, the course will now be added to the equipment system and made available to teams to train their players.

Image Source: Lapsodo

Analytics has become a core part of the game over the past few decades (Happy 20th consecutive year to the Oakland A’s incredible 20-win penalty kick), and finding a way to integrate it into the data-obsessed tech world is a good idea. meaningful.

“I personally love it,” Mets hitting coach (and former third baseman) Eric Chavez on Interviewed by The New York Post“We can’t replicate anything that happens in the game, but it’s the closest thing we have. But I don’t play anymore, how they’re going to use it to move forward, I’m not sure. It’s just for anyone who wants Its people exist.”

It sure beats a cannon full of gunpowder.

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