June 2, 2021
Over the last handful of years, more and more data-driven tools and analytics have made their way from the pro levels of baseball to college, and from college to high school and travel. These tools – like video, Blast Motion, Rapsodo and others – are incredibly valuable and useful for player development and college coaches are also now turning to them to help evaluate prospective student-athletes to aid in their recruiting efforts, as well.
Other than video though, these tools aren’t yet universal or completely familiar, so we want to make sure that we orient attending Honor Roll student-athletes to what to expect while they’re at camp and how coaches use these analytics.
Different coaches and programs are going to look at analytics differently in their recruiting – and these differences are likely to be even more stark than objective measurements (discussed in Part 6), because different programs will have access to different tools and data. Some college programs use one, some or even all these tools in their own program, while some programs may not have regular access to the tools and platforms to consistently gather the information. One of the trends we’ve seen over the last few years with our college coach partners is more and more adoption of tools like Blast and Rapsodo – and we’ve watched as it informs not only player development but also recruiting efforts.
Beyond the differences in access, coaches also are likely to weight and use the analytics differently. Depending on what they’re looking for in their pitching staff, for example, they might key in on different parts of the Rapsodo report (e.g. some may look first at total spin, while others may look primarily to spin efficiency).
Ultimately, data collected from tools like Blast and Rapsodo can help give college coaches deeper insights into who you are as a player beyond what they see on the field with the naked eye. Having this data to back up what they’re seeing can help coaches make more confident recruiting decisions more quickly, because it allows them to more effectively get to the root of why you’re effective as a player – especially if your effectiveness is founded on a less traditional skillset.
The more data coaches have to verify and cross-check what they’re seeing with their eyes, the more ways they have to understand you as a player and what makes you effective, creating more ways to get your name highlighted on their recruiting lists.
We talked with Duke Pitching Coach Chris Gordon in-depth about how they use data, analytics and tools like Rapsodo, Blast & Trackman in their program – listen to that whole interview here to learn more.
We also spoke with Coach Kyle Decker (then Assistant Coach at Harvard, now Assistant Coach at Dayton) about how they used Blast in player development at Harvard – you can listen to that in-depth interview and conversation here to learn more.
Separately, we went in-depth on the advantages of using Blast in recruiting in our blog post here.
While video certainly isn’t new in recruiting, it has now become much more prevalent, given the ease of capturing quality footage with a smartphone, and with easy distribution through tools like YouTube and SportsRecruits to put your film in coaches’ hands. For years coaches have used video to get a first look at a large number of student-athletes – and that hasn’t changed. Having video to send to coaches is a great way to introduce yourself to coaches, and also to keep them updated on your progress and development after you’ve built a relationship.
The other role that video plays in recruiting is in putting the eyes of the entire coaching staff on you. For the vast majority of college coaching staffs, recruiting is a collaborative effort, and getting cross-checking and staff buy-in on recruits can be labor and time-intensive. Having good video footage can help make this easier though – which is the purpose of the video that we collect at Honor Roll on every student-athlete.
Through our partnership with NextPro, all coaches will receive a database with in-game footage (at bats and innings pitched) cut and tagged to each player at camp, giving them a warehouse of footage to go back to when they’re back in the baseball office after camp. This means that the coach who attended camp – watching live, taking notes, connecting with players – has the resources to go back to the other members of the coaching staff to not only talk about his notes, but can pull up the video of you at camp to show how you play in games. And because coaches see every player at camp, they can evaluate your game film by comparing your performance with other players they are recruiting. If a coach had a pitcher highly-ranked and watches film of you taking him deep, that film will be that much more valuable to them than video of a practice session or than the game film that parents are able to capture during a tournament, where coaches watching the film might not know the level of competition. With the at-camp footage, coaches not only have the chance to see how you perform, but how you stack up to the competition and to their other recruits.
This Honor Roll game film will be sent to all coaches regardless of whether players decide to purchase their film – but NextPro also provides different packages for players to purchase their video to take with them after camp. This includes access to all your footage, as well as custom-built highlight reels picked by you. This option gives you the opportunity to acquire personalized film to use throughout your recruiting.
If you’d like to see a sample of what this game film looks like, click here.
We’ve also written about the benefits of at-camp footage in previous blog posts – click here to read more.
In addition to the objective measurements that we discussed in-depth in Part 6 of the pre-camp curriculum, there are a few other pieces of data – some built-in, others as optional add-ons – that we collect at Honor Roll.
For players who either purchase a Blast sensor through our website (with a great discount available!) or for those who already have their own and pay the $10 Blast event fee, we’ll be collecting data on your at-camp swings during the Offensive Showcase and during your at bats in live gameplay.
During all live gameplay on both days of camp, we’ll be collecting in-game Rapsodo Pitching data on all pitchers and passing Rapsodo reports along to college coaches. This data will be collected for all pitchers as a built-in part of programming and requires no additional purchase.
In addition to the Rapsodo reports on all pitchers, we also do pitching evaluations for all pitchers who throw live in games on both days of camp. These evals are written by college coaches assigned to each field, and include velocities, as well as notes on movement, command, presence, athleticism, etc. These pitching evaluations are distributed to all college coaches in attendance but are not made available directly to student-athletes or families.
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect at camp and how college coaches use data and analytics in their recruiting, a few important things to remember: