The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Baseball program recently took a progressive step forward by becoming the first collegiate baseball team to utilize a player evaluation technology know as the HitTrax Data Capture and Simulation System.
Referred to by HitTrax as “The World’s First and Only Baseball Simulator”, head coach Mik Aoki and the rest of his staff will be able to quantify aspects of Notre Dame’s hitters such as exit ball velocity off the bat, launch angle/elevation, hard hit average and for the pitchers, late break measurement, % strikes and batting average against, to name a few. The software gives coaches and players the ability to provide and receive immediate feedback by distributing real-time statistics with visual review. In addition, HitTrax enables its users to engage in simulated games, tournaments, hitting leagues, home run derby contests, and long ball contests (in actual Major League Baseball ballparks, no less) in which the data collected is stored in a online cloud network called “The Virtual Dugout” where players and coaches can compare and further break down the data that HitTrax analyzes.
“From the moment we saw the HitTrax system, we knew the metrics used would revolutionize how we – and other baseball programs – train our players,” Aoki said. “There’s no doubt that the statistics captured in the system will soon become commonplace within the baseball community. [Our] players are more engaged and the coaches are armed with actionable insight that they’ve never before had access to. The proof will be to see how our kids perform when they step across the baseline but as far as we’re concerned, we’ve hit a home run with this system.”
While I believe this system could really catch on with colleges, high schools, and training facilities, it’s hard to tell whether this is a product that could be widely utilized within the minors and majors. Because advanced statistics are much more limited in the amateur game, HitTrax could serve as a plausible and tangible way for any amateur team or training facility to help better assess the strengths and weaknesses of players. Not to mention, HitTrax could help younger baseball players get more enthusiastic and proactive about their development by challenging them to become more complete players at a younger age.
From the research I’ve done, no MLB organization has brought in the HitTrax software up to this point. As informative, engaging, and fun the system seems to be, I get the sense that HitTrax is perhaps a bit too gimmicky for the statistics gurus and computer whizzes within MLB front offices.
I really hope I’m proven wrong – HitTrax certainly has the potential to change how coaching and player analysis is performed on a large scale. For a look-in about how the HitTrax software works, view this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6A7Qpvea_o