In addition to collecting data and video on amateur baseball players, some of our scouts also conduct their own research projects using a variety of data sources and technologies. Below you can read more about Robert Frey’s Park Factor graphs, along with research on biomechanics conducted by Richard Birfer. This helps all of us at CBBSN gain a better understanding of player performance and development so that we can deliver the best service possible.
Park Factor Graphs
One of the most interesting things about baseball is that no two stadiums are exactly alike – you can travel to all 30 MLB stadiums and none of their dimensions will be exactly the same. While this is fascinating and makes the game exciting, it also introduces another variable that can affect every plate appearance. This is where park factors come into play. Park factors are a way of adjusting for these differences so that we can more accurately evaluate teams and players. When we use statistics, park factors can help control for some of the noise that comes with stadiums having different dimensions, weather, and air quality and density.
While these park factors are readily available for MLB stadiums every year, collegiate park factors are harder to come by. But thanks to our Southwest Assistant Regional Manager, Robert Frey, you can find them right here at CBBSN. Robert pulled team schedules from NCAA stats, collected data over multiple years, and originally had it in an Excel file for the calculations. This was more cumbersome, so he ended up coding it in R, which helped automatically print the result of the park factors. Click the link below to see the park factors he created for D1 baseball teams, broken down by conference. If you’d like to see more of Robert’s work or the code used for this project, check out his GitHub account here.
The field of biomechanics and data-driven player development has exploded in baseball, and for good reason. This research helps coaches and players alike better understand movement patterns in athletes and how each individual should be coached to improve their performance. A player’s mechanics can be tracked and analyzed using advanced cameras, sensors and other technologies; this information feeds into our understanding of how devastating injuries like pitchers’ UCL tears happen and how to prevent them. However, this research not only helps injury prevention, it also helps with player performance. A pitcher can make his motion towards the plate more efficient to deliver more velocity, and a hitter can make his swing more versatile in order to cover all parts of the plate and hit to all parts of the field. Biomechanics is all about watching players more closely than we ever have before, and collecting that information to drive how we develop players to reach new heights in their performance.
Richard Birfer, the East Coast Scouting Director for CBBSN, is currently doing some of his own research in this realm. This information can be incredibly useful when scouting players and trying to project their talents – follow the link below to read more about Richard’s biomechanics research!