160. Baseball’s Player-Development Analytics v. Yours

New Book: The MVP Machine

Read the rave reviews for this just-out book at Amazon. Baseball fans will love it. Non-fans, who are trying to “upskill or re-skill” employees, can glean value by skimming it.

“MVP” details the third phase of the analytics revolution sweeping pro baseball. In Phase-One (detailed in “Moneyball”), teams used analytics to draft and trade under-valued players. Others got wise, copied and zeroed out that edge.    

Phase-Two: innovative teams tailored both pitch selections and defensive shifts to each batter’s statistical-hitting weaknesses. Again, the herd followed, and the advantages eroded.

Now, in Phase-Three, teams are attempting (with high speed cameras, etc.) to teach players how to be better: pitchers, hitters and more. It’s called “player development” (PD).   

PD Requires More Than New Tools, Data and Insights

All teams have now bought high-speed cameras that detect details like every pitcher’s grip/release for each type of pitch, spin axis and rpm’s, etc.  But, these cameras are just tools, not total solutions. What else is needed (by example) for a pitcher to obtain a new, designer pitch?

  1. Techies who can use/maintain these tools to the max
  2. Middleware to convert raw video data into digestible information relayed to a coach’s smartphone. Then, the Development Coach can stand next to a player on the field to provide immediate feedback after each hit or pitch.
  3. These Development Coaches need five pre-requisites: credibility from playing in the major leagues, stat-savviness, mechanical motion analysis, psychological motivators, and belief in the upside growth potential of targeted players. These rare birds are called “conduits”.    
  4. A receptive player ready to do dedicated, intentional practice to retool their motion. Many “good enough” veterans (and coaches) resist.   
  5. The corporate leadership and growth-mindset to invest in 1-4.   

The MVP authors rate the Astros best at all five factors. Since 2011, the Astros have had new, relentless, data-driven leadership. The Astros now lead at all improvement-metrics from farm clubs to their starters. (Interesting fact: in the spring of ’18, the Astros had 75 high-speed cameras, the Dodgers were next with six.)

PD For Your Reps?

What are you doing to reskill your reps for e-selling in the oncoming cloud E-commerce era? Customer profitability analytics can north-star your PD agenda. But, how will you get the other five factors?  

For more, I can help. Please be in touch to schedule a free, virtual tutorial for your C-Suite.    bruce@merrifield.com \lsdun

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