Using Baseball Seams to Create Break:Post 54

This is the presentation that I have made to the staff of several Grapefruit-League MLB teams. I wanted to make it easily accessible to the rest of the MLB teams by putting a version here. I try to make most of my posts viewable on a phone, but this one may require a PC.

I am going to come right out and say that I believe strongly that we have discovered something that can, for a period of time, provide a significant competitive advantage for a baseball team. By 2022, everyone will be doing this. So, if you are in an MLB team front office or are a coach, consider whether you would be interested in having the details on how this works exclusively next year while everyone else tries to figure it out on their own. We don’t cost very much. I don’t think this involves much risk. We will deliver. More on that later.

The presentation is in 4 parts. The first part provides you with a primer on aerodynamics. The second describes our PIV air velocity measurements and introduces the Seam-Shifted Wake. The third describes seam shifted wake pitches involving a degree of gyro spin, which are currently used a little in the majors. The fourth is on efficient seam shifted wake pitches that could be used much more broadly.

Part 1: Aerodynamics

Part 2: Measurements and SSW

Part 3: SSW pitches requiring gyro

Why gyro? Why efficient?

Part 4: Efficient SSW pitches

The looper grip:

How to know if you are doing it right? Trevor Bauer, who is a very clever fellow and would have been a great engineer (like his dad) if he hadn’t chosen to waste his life in the MLB, sent me this idea.

He was trying to throw a scuff ball, so he drew circles centered on the point that he wanted the ball to spin around (the seam). Note that a looper is just slightly different, with the ball spinning around a point about midway between the seam and the top center dot he drew on the ball. With a ball marked like this, a successful pitch, viewed from behind, will show a line on the loop side of the ball.

Here is a mostly successful attempt. At the time that I snapped this with my iPhone 8, we had been working at this for about 15 minutes, including marking the ball. It’s not very hard.

Ideally, we’d like that circle to look like a line. It is wobbling just a little bit indicating some room for improvement.

Message to MLB Teams:

I hope you are convinced that this is real. It is my hope that, like a free app, you have seen enough to make you see the advantage of paying for more. I have provided enough here to make it possible for you to deploy these pitches given sufficient financial resources and manpower, but we can save you time and money by narrowing your focus to the exact orientations that work for the kind of pitch you want to design. Someone is going to do it. Why not your team? The cost will be in the neighborhood of $76K (or, the cost of 0.035 wins). We are anxious to start. If we do not acquire these funds, we may do some part of the work anyway, and all 30 teams will get the results at the same time. Pitchers win, hitters lose, no matter what team they are on.

Here’s to the next big thing in pitching! Cheers!

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2 thoughts on “Using Baseball Seams to Create Break:Post 54

  1. Barton excellent summary post. Thanks for continuing to make all of your findings publicly available and advancing baseball aerodynamic research.

    At Trajekt Sports we are building a gyro machine with ball orientation control. We envision a very near future where MLB teams can design new pitches and practice against tracked pitches ‘seamlessly’.

    We hope you are successful in finding an early adopting MLB team.

    1. Thanks, Joshua. I nearly mentioned your very promising machine, and maybe I should of. For everyone else, Trajekt is building a very exciting machine that will provide a level of control of the normal stuff (speed, axis) plus gyro AND orientation. I can’t wait to see it in action.

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