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Examination Of 2014 Free Agent Draft Revealing

Examination Of 2014 Free Agent Draft Revealing

© 2015 Collegiate Baseball

As the San Francisco Giants put closure to the 2014 baseball season with their third world championship in 5-years, one can’t help but think about the genesis of a successful organization. 

All kingdoms…all dynasties, must be built on a foundation. And for Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations, the basis on which all success is built begins each June with the MLB Free Agent Amateur Draft.

While free-agent signings, via importing or post-draft opportunities, trades, etc., remain an integral piece of the puzzle, the first week in June is the “alpha and omega” with regard to the deliverable…a World Championship.

In 2014, 1,215 players were selected by 30 MLB teams in the 40-round draft. 

In analyzing the draft, the data serves as indicators and variables in teaching us about the intricacies and sophistication of the process.

The Yankees dynasty of the ‘90’s, which was assimilated by Sabean, began with the “Core Four” of Derek Jeter (1992, 1st-round, 6th overall), Andy Pettitte (1990, 22nd round), Jorge Posada (1990, 24th round) and an organically grown amateur free-agent, Mariano Rivera (1990).  

In addition, Sabean also drafted J.T. Snow (1989, 5th round), who later became one of the greatest defensive 1st basemen, ironically, in San Francisco Giants history.

Similar in nature to the architecture of the Yankees resurgence, Sabean used the MLB draft to build the Giants foundation. 

At the time of the last out of the 2014 World Series, seven organically grown players were on the field.

Buster Posey (2008, 1st round, 5th overall), Madison Bumgarner (2007, 1st round, 10th overall), Brandon Crawford (2011, 5th round), Brandon Belt (2009, 5th round), Joe Panik (2011, 1st round, 29th overall), Juan Perez (2008, 13th round) and amateur free-agent, Pablo Sandoval (2003) were all harvested by Sabean.

Other Sabean selections, Tim Lincecum (2006, 1st round, 10th overall), Matt Cain (2002, 1st round, 25th overall), played significant roles in Giants World Championship clubs of 2010 and 2012.

So what does the MLB draft mean today?  Simply said, World Championships tomorrow. 

Combined, the NCAA Division I and high school pool accounted for over three-quarters (78.68%) of the draft.

What’s interesting, is that in peeling back the onion, another layer, 381 or 62.35% of the NCAA Division I selections came from the Top 10 conferences.

The in-depth 2014 Draft analysis features one chart that gives data on how each Major League team chose their selections and another chart that shows the breakdown of how many players were chosen from the top 10 NCAA Division I conferences, 11-15, 16-20 and 21-32. To purchase the Feb. 6, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICK HERE.

Sniper Focus Essential For Pitcher Command

Sniper Focus Essential For Pitcher Command

Film Review American Sniper

Editor/Collegiate Baseball
© 2015 Collegiate Baseball

CORONADO, Calif. — Have you ever wondered why trained, military snipers can hit their target with precision one mile away but pitchers fail over and over again at hitting their mark from 60 feet 6 inches?

I recently saw the blockbuster movie American Sniper, and it really hit home about the success rate at hitting targets from these two disciplines.

According to Kenny Kendrena of Inside Edge, a company that specializes in precision statistics for professional baseball teams, data from all 2014 Major League Baseball games reveals that pitchers only hit their intended target 24 percent of the time.

The way Inside Edge defines this is either the catcher’s glove didn’t move, or it was within one baseball width from the glove.

“People will think that is a low number, I’m sure,” said Kendrena.

“But if they watch games closely, they will see that it’s very accurate. Pitchers don’t hit their intended spot as often as one would think.”

Keep in mind this success rate of 24 percent is for the elite pitchers in the world.

College and high school pitchers obviously miss at an even lower percentage.

So I did a bit of investigative work to find some answers about why snipers are so successful and what pitching coaches and pitchers can learn from these highly disciplined marksmen.

I ran a search on Google which brought up the U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Training Program in PDF format.

So I scoured through the 314-page document and found some fascinating gems that will undoubtedly help baseball pitchers.

Beyond this information, I purchased the book American Sniper written by Chris Kyle. And he had some insight into why snipers can concentrate so well even in the harshest weather conditions.

In addition, Dr. Bill Harrison, who has worked on vision training with more professional baseball players than anyone in history, chimes in on how pitchers can gain better command of pitches.

Eye Position Absolutely Crucial
“In order to see what is required during aiming, the shooter must know how to use his eye,” according to the U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Training Program.

“Variations in the positions of the eye to the telescope will cause variations in the image received by the eye. The placement of the eye in this respect is called eye relief. Proper eye relief is approximately 2-3 inches from the exit pupil of the telescope and can be determined to be correct when the shooter has a full field of view in the telescope with no shadows.

“If the sniper’s eye is located without proper eye relief, a circular shadow will occur in the field of vision, reducing the field size, hindering observation, and, in general, making aiming difficult.

“If the eye is shifted to one side or another of the exit pupil, crescent shaped shadows will appear on the edges of the eyepiece. If these crescent shaped shadows appear, the bullet will strike to the side away from the shadow. Therefore, when the sniper has a full field of view and is focusing on the intersection of the crosshairs, he has aligned his sight.”

Dr. Harrison was asked if any company has ever invented a crosshairs for pitchers to view through that might sharpen their aiming focus.

In the SEAL sniper training program, it is said that having a target quartered with crosshairs maximizes the chance of a hit with the first shot.

“In the early 90s, we worked with the U.S. shooting team,” said Dr. Harrison.

“A lot of them were trap and skeet shooters. I was fascinated then by their approach to marksmanship, and a lot of them had military experience. They were receptive to learning more about vision and what you can do to hit the target with more precision.

“Trap and skeet shooters weren’t interested in hitting 95 out of 100. They felt 98 out of 100 was OK. What they expected was 99 or 100 out of 100. That was their mind set, and they weren’t interested in hitting their target some of the time. I’m sure snipers are exactly the same.

“You must find out if if aiming is precise or if there is any quivering with the eye. I would think that snipers are more precise with their eyeball aiming than a general shooter. And they have to be more precise than a trap or skeet shooter.

“There is another element. If you are precise in aiming at a target, are you thinking about other things, including what your body feels like? Or is your attention 100 percent on what you are doing?

“I know you are absolutely right that a pitcher must be a sniper.”

With sniper training, staying still is of utmost importance. But as a pitcher, your head and body are in constant movement until the pitch is released. And even then, the head and body are moving until the follow through is finished.

More On Sniper Vision For Pitchers
To read more of the in-depth article, CLICK HERE by purchasing the Feb. 6, 2015 edition for this special report. Concepts taught by the U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Program are explained along with in-depth analysis by Dr. Bill Harrison who has worked with more professional baseball players on their athletic vision than anyone in history.

Keeping the eyes still is vital while steadiness of sniper like focus is also crucial. Dr. Harrison explains that getting target oriented by the pitcher prior to the pitching sequence is essential along with having pinpoint focus on the target at the precise moment of ball release.

Pitchers must make adjustments just like snipers. The necessity of proper breathing for more precision target hitting and why the vagus nerve is crucial in this process is covered along with a section on why trigger control is important. The all-important area of concentration is explained and why demanding mental pressure by instructors is vital to refine those skills, among other areas in this article.

Hit By Pitch Epidemic Threatens Game Integrity

Hit By Pitch Epidemic Threatens Game Integrity

Irvine Player Hit By Pitch 2007 CWSBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
© 2015 Collegiate Baseball

ORLANDO, Fla. — A massive amount of hit batters took place during the 2014 college baseball season, a good portion on purpose by batters trying to gain an edge.

As a result, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee has cracked down with precise wording in the rule to slow down this tactic.

Speaking in front of NCAA Division I, II and III coaches at the Rules Meeting at the American Baseball Coaches Association convention, NCAA National Coordinator of Umpires George Drouches outlined an epidemic that took place last year across NCAA baseball with batters who were purposely hit by pitches.

Beyond normal hit by pitches, batters purposely moved into pitches as they were drilled in many parts of their bodies to get on base

According to the 2014 final NCAA Division I statistics, batters were hit 91 times or more on 23 different teams last season.

Incredibly, 10 teams were hit 101 or more times last season.

The new rule states that a batter must make an attempt to avoid being hit by the ball.

If the umpire rules the batter did not make an attempt to get out of the way, or that he leaned into the path of the ball, a pitch inside the strike zone that touches the batter will be called a strike.

If the pitch is outside the strike zone, it will be called a ball.

The national team leader in hit by pitches last season was Maryland with 126 hit by pitches.

Eleven batters were hit 11 or more times with three being hit 19 or 20 times.

According to the final 2014 NCAA Division I statistics, there were 33 players who were hit 20 or more times last season led by Chris Cook of George Mason (31 HBP in 56 games) and Aaron Payne of Oregon (31 HBP in 64 games).

As far as NCAA Division II, Lander University batters were hit 130 times in 61 games. In NCAA Division III, Heidelberg was No. 1 with 116 hit batters in 44 games.

In junior college baseball, Hutchinson C.C. led NJCAA Division I schools with 134 hit batters in 60 games.

This is hardly the first time there has been a problem with batters purposely getting hit by pitches.

It has been a problem for well over 30 years as the NCAA Rules Committee has wrestled with this problem when severe flareups of hit batters have taken place.

When an all-time record 53 batters were hit in only 15 games during the 2007 College World Series, the NCAA Rules Committee took a tough stance on batters purposely getting hit by pitches.

More than half of the 53 hit batters purposely stuck a part of their body in front of pitches.

Shortly after the 2007 College World Series, the Rules Committee took a stance that that batters must make an attempt to avoid the pitch to be awarded first base.

The wording was changed slightly in subsequent years. But now batters must once again make an attempt to avoid being hit by the ball or they will not be allowed to take first base.

The most prolific hit by pitch artist college baseball has ever witnessed, Tyler Crabtree, has worked his tactics the past three years.

Last season for NCAA Division II Central Oklahoma University, he was hit a modest 23 times in 44 games.

But the year prior, he was hit 41 times in 49 games as the leadoff hitter.

This tied the NCAA all divisions record of 41 set by Chris Kline of Lincoln Memorial in 1997.

One year earlier, Crabtree was hit 41 times in 49 games at Eastern Oklahoma St. J.C.

Over a 3-year period, Crabtree was hit a staggering 105 times in 142 games.

No college baseball player has ever been drilled this many times over three years.

To read more about the epidemic of hit batters in college baseball, purchase the Jan. 23, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

Will Flat Seam Baseball Change College Game?

Will Flat Seam Baseball Change College Game?

Flat Seam vs High Seam BallFor the first time in 155 years of college baseball, teams will utilize the flat seam baseball during the spring season which is expected to infuse more offense into the game.

NCAA Division I, II and III championships will use the flat seam ball in 2015 which means teams in these divisions will use the ball throughout the regular season.

The NAIA championship will also use the flat seam ball in 2015 as schools use the ball during the season.

NJCAA Division I, II and III championships will use the flat seam ball beginning with the 2016 championship as junior colleges switch to these balls during the 2016 season.

Northwest junior colleges (Washington, Oregon, British Columbia) within the Pacific Association Division will use flat seam balls in 2015 while California junior colleges will wait until 2016 to utilize them.

Since BBCOR specification bats have been required with the 2011 season, offensive numbers have plummeted in college baseball.

The poster child for lack of offense took place at the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Division I College World Series.

Only three home runs were hit in 14 games in 2013 while only three were hit in 16 games last June. It marked the lowest home run total since 1966 when only two home runs were hit in 15 games.

From an all-time high of 62 homers at the 1998 College World Series, the numbers have sunk lower and lower with 9 in 2011, 10 in 2012 and 3 the last two years.

Numbers the last three years have closely mirrored the wood bat era in college baseball which took place up to the 1973 season.

After several months of testing at the NCAA Bat Certification lab during the summer of 2013 at Washington State University, results showed that the flat seam ball will travel further than a raised seam ball due to the “drag effect.”

The greater the distance a ball travels, the greater the drag effect.

The test was conducted with an average ball exit speed from a machine at 95 mph with a spin rate of 1,400 RPM and a launch angle of 25 degrees. These parameters were set because they replicate the settings of a typical home run or a hit that could become a home run.

The average distance the raised seam ball traveled was 367 feet while the average distance the flat seam ball traveled was 387 feet — 20 feet further.

The home run should be back in the game but not to the extent where it was several years ago before the BBCOR bat started being used.

Craig Keilitz, executive director of the American Baseball Coaches Association, said that he talked to about 50 coaches during the fall who have utilized the flat seam baseball during practices and games.

“The majority of those coaches said they saw a difference in the carry compared to the raised seam ball that has been used in college baseball for many years,” said Keilitz.

“I am excited to see how the ball performs during the 2015 season with schools that use it and how the numbers wind up, especially home runs.

“I would personally like to see more home runs in college baseball. But we don’t need to go back to the extreme number of home runs we had before.

“It appears this ball will allow for possibly better home run production than the last few years. But we have to wait and see.”

Cold Weather Concerns
Dan Blewett, a former college player who now is the owner of War Bird Training Academy in Normal, Ill., feels a big problem may take place with cold weather early in the season with the flat seam ball for pitchers.

“Going to school in Baltimore, this was a ‘southern’ trip for us – one that would escape the frostbitten northern air,” said Blewett.

“We lost the first game of my college career 2-1, a 14-inning affair that lasted almost five hours amid snow flurries and chattering teeth.

“It was classic February college baseball – cold and windy.

“Hundreds of schools tolerate this weather for more than half of their spring season, but it will quickly become less tolerable as they transition to flat seam baseballs. These games were playable as long as the field was dry and free of snow.

“What most don’t realize is that these games were made playable in large part because of high-seam baseballs, which will be a thing of the past in 2015.

“Most casual onlookers don’t see the big deal – grab the baseball and throw it, right? Not so fast.

“The issue of foreign substance use will become rampant in college baseball as college pitchers desperately try to grip a cold, flat, dry ball with cold, dry hands.

“As such, what was a minor problem in professional baseball will become a much larger problem in college baseball.

“The flat-seam baseball used in the minor leagues is very difficult to grip and throw in temperatures below 40 degrees, especially with wind and dry air.

“The Major League ball is even worse. Fortunately for professionals, this is only an issue in April and October, as the bulk of the season is played in the warmth of the summer.

“Half of the college season is over by the time April rolls around.”

Stark Differences
Blewett said there are major differences between the flat seam and high seam balls.

“1. Flat seam balls feel rounder. Larger seams protrude from the surface of high seam balls, making the ball feel square by comparison. Flat seams make the ball feel smaller, which can also make them feel less secure in the hand. Large seams can be wedged between fingers on breaking balls, but flat seam balls don’t nest as well.

“2. The leather is slicker. Leather on pro baseballs appears to be of higher quality, and it tends to get slicker and shinier the more it hits the mitt. Pro balls become souvenirs after just an at-bat or two, on average, but colleges often retrieve foul balls. This means longer circulation time. Balls that last a few innings are likely to get harder to grip as the game wears on.

“3. Pro balls are rubbed up. This makes matters worse, as ‘taking the shine’ off the pearly white ball requires very fine mud to be rubbed on. This fine mud dries into dust. And dusty baseballs are (you guessed it) harder to grip. Though the darkened color may prove a visual advantage, this is a tactile disadvantage to the pitcher.

“4. The seams are flat and narrow. Though this is obvious, flat seams mean that more curves and sliders will slip out. The MLB ball has seams that are flatter and narrower than even the minor league ball, which can make the transition to the big leagues more difficult for minor leaguers.

“5. Round balls act differently than square balls. Physics dictates that a high-seamed ball will have more turbulent flight than a flat-seamed ball, resulting in more pitch movement. However, pitchers transitioning to pro baseballs report the opposite.”

Blewett said that because the pro ball is rounder, finger pressure is more often erroneously sent through the descending edges of the ball, resulting in unintended cut and run on fastballs.

“Pitchers in the college game will suddenly find their fastballs doing things they’ve never done before, and they’ll be scrambling for answers. But, the issue comes down to pitch slippage, predominantly on breaking balls.

“It’s very difficult to ‘feel’ the ball when it’s cold, as both the leather and the skin are cold, dry and slick.

“Ask any pro pitcher throwing under these conditions, and he’ll tell you that it affects his confidence in his breaking pitches, because the ball feels insecure in the hand.

“Pitchers want to grip and rip their curve or slider, but if they’re afraid it’s going to fly over the batter’s head, they end up choosing pitches based on the ball rather than the count and situation.

“This is what we don’t want – for the ball to dictate how the game is played.

“What does this mean for college baseball?

“Collegiate pitchers will be forced to find comfort with flat seam balls as they throw them in fall and winter workouts, giving them a trial run before the season.

“But, part of this learning curve will be finding ways to get their old grip on the new baseball.

“The NCAA and other national organizations are likely to have a problem on their hands enforcing a rule against gripping aids, one that they never had to deal with.

“Hopefully, players are discrete if they use substances, and the game can go on without interruption, much like pro baseball has.

“But, if umpires decide to be strict, there may have to be rule changes.

“Players will be throwing in front of scouts in 40-degree weather with flat seam balls.

“Rather than hang pitch after pitch and see their draft stock fall, they’re going to find a substance to help them get their old grip back.

“Is this cheating? I call it survival.

“Both MLB and the NCAA should consider creating a list of approved substances that can be used sparingly to enhance grip.

“Rosin can create tremendously sticky skin when used in warm weather. So substances that mimic that same degree of tack should be considered legal within the current ethos of the game during cold weather.”

More On Flat Seam Vs. High Seam Ball
To read more of the in-depth story of this change in baseballs, purchase the Jan. 2, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE. Mississippi State pitching coach Butch Thompson explains his thoughts on the subject as well as Chicago Cubs’ Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson.

12 New Baseball Products Win Best Of Show

12 New Baseball Products Win Best Of Show

2015 Best Of Show LogoTwelve innovative products at the recent American Baseball Coaches Association convention trade show in Orlando, Fla. were awarded Best of Show certificates by Collegiate Baseball.

There were 61 nominations submitted which features the top new baseball products of 2014.

Here are the 12 winners chosen by Collegiate Baseball’s Best of Show selection committee with a capsule summary of what each product does.

For the complete story which gives in-depth explanations of each product, costs, warranties and contact information, purchase the Jan. 23, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

Ra-Vid ProSport GraphicRadar/Video/Stopwatch Gun
Professional scouts and college coaches have wrestled for years with the nagging problem of juggling a radar gun, video camera and stopwatch when evaluating prospects.

Ra-Vid Technologies has come up with an answer with the Ra-Vid ProSport gun which combines all three of these elements for the first time in history.

This firm has teamed with Sony and Stalker to have a unit that records and captures speed as well as register time with a 1/100 second stopwatch all in a 3-pound hand-held unit.

SwingTracker is a performance analysis and improvement technology that collects batting swing data at a rate greater than 11,000 data points per second.

A special sensor is mounted to the bottom knob of a baseball bat with a strap which temporarily mounts it to that location. The sensor sends signals to a cellphone with the SwingTracker App.

As the sensor collects data, virtually any measure about the swing can be obtained.

Initially, SwingTracker calculates and reports 11 metrics that are summarized into four core elements of the swing — swing, quickness, power and control.

Within each core swing measure are 1-4 individual metrics:

Speed: Maximum hand speed (mph), maximum barrel speed (mph), speed efficiency (percent), forward bat speed (mph).

Quickness: Trigger to impact time (milliseconds).

Power: Applied power (watts), maximum acceleration (mph/second), impact momentum (kilogram meters per second).

Control: Approach angle (degrees), hand cast (inches), distance in the zone (inches).

The visualization of the swing is also an important tool to understand and improve.

SwingTracker provides a 3D motion view of the swing plane and path to the ball recreated in actual speed, slow and super slow modes.

If this wasn’t enough, SwingTracker utilizes a mobile device’s video camera in a unique way. Through a proprietary approach that enhances the device’s video resolution and precisely captures ball impact, SwingTracker synchronizes swing video with the data from the sensor for a complete picture of the swing.

Motus Pitching Sleeve
Motus has developed break-through movement analysis technology that is changing the way pitchers, coaches, medical and training staff monitor workloads and improve player performance.

Already used by nine MLB organizations, the company’s revolutionary mThrow analytics platform will be available to all in February 2015 via a compression sleeve equipped with a Motus-developed wearable device.

That device communicates directly to the mThrow mobile app to provide metrics on players’ mechanics and cumulative workloads throughout the season indicating injury risk.

A sensor is embedded into the Motus Pitching Sleeve that measures workloads and stress on the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of the pitcher along with eight other metrics.

They include elbow torque, release point, elbow height, arm slot, wrist speed, elbow speed, arm speed, forearm rotation and maximum shoulder rotation.

Back-Spin Tee
This unique tee holds the ball from the top which is a vast departure from normal tees that have been on the market for decades.

It has been designed to allow batters to hit line drives by changing the batters’ visual perspective of focus to the bottom 2/3 of the ball.

Invented by Jarrett Gardner and his younger brother Taylor, the Back-Spin Tee has been a work in progress for over nine months.

Recently a study was conducted with the Back-Spin Tee as 30,000 balls were struck from five years olds to professionals. This tee produced a staggering 94 percent line drives, according to the inventors.

It is the only tee in the world that has a cone that rotates thereby saving the wear and tear points of contact.

Training Sled
A intriguing new product called the Power Drive Performance Sled has been invented by John Miller.

It trains baseball players to initiate power from the ground up for pitching, hitting, position throwing and fielding. It is a baseball training aid for developing skills and a conditioning aid for adding strength and is ergonomically designed for baseball.

Players will increase performance by learning to use their stronger lower body to produce power and initiate athletic skill movements.

Hittinguru 3D
Hittinguru 3D is the world’s only markerless (no sensors or pressure plates are used), single camera video system that captures full body motion with 2D and 3D video tracking and training capabilities.

The intuitive dashboard provides the user with multiple synchronized views, weight transfer and balance tracking, automated record and replay, on-line lesson sharing, key position learning, multi-user management and much more.

This system offers a 270 degree rotational 3D viewing system to analyze each player’s swing from stance to finish. The system instantly provides over 33 key metrics, including hand path and speed, time to impact and key angles of up to 25 body joints during key stages of the swing.

TAP 360 System
The TAP 360 system utilizes the time-proven TAP (Troutwine Athletic Profile) assessment of athletes’ mental makeup, a patent pending analytics engine and the latest technology to deliver a complete system for evaluating, coaching and developing the mental intangibles relating to athletic performance.

The test only takes 20 minutes but reveals vital information to coaches such as:

• Mental toughness.
• Competitive desire.
• Work habits.
• Mental processing speed.
• Coachability

Pitch Zone, Height Locator
A product 40 years in the making has just been developed by Dr. Bill and Ryan Harrison, two of the elite vision performance specialists in baseball.

For many years, both of these giants in the industry have tried to teach hitters how to visually learn their unique strike zones.

The Pitch Zone Locator and Height Zone Locator are a huge step in this direction which gives coaches and players a method to understand strike zones in three dimensions of a pitch (in and out, up and down and late and early).

Webgem Glove Care System
One of the biggest problems in all of baseball is maximizing the life of gloves. Who hasn’t seen an expensive glove destroyed by neglect or utilizing oil products that weigh the glove down or use a product that causes the glove to deteriorate.

The system includes a rigid form that rests on the pocket of the glove to keep a specific shape you want, a protective case and the firm’s proprietary glove conditioner as well as a cleaning rag.

There are currently six different designs for the rigid forms that allow the glove to remain at a precise shape which provides the player with consistent feel every time he goes out to practice or play.

Baseball Academics App
One of the most annoying problems that coaches endure are defensive players who don’t execute situations properly on the baseball field because of mental mistakes.

A solution to this problem has been addressed by a Baseball Academics. This company has developed an App to assist baseball players of all ages to become better fielders by quizzing them on what to do with the ball when it is hit to them based on numerous variables.

This App creates a series of plays in a 30-second cycle, and the fielder presses the base that he would throw to. The goal is to do as many plays in the 30-second drill as possible while maintaining the highest possible degree of accuracy.

JUGS’ Backyard Bullpen
Practicing your skills as a pitcher can become exasperating at times when no catchers are available to throw to for bullpens.

This happens all the time to high school pitchers in the fall when catchers are playing other sports or simply refuse to do it because catching is hard on the knees and tough work.

A great solution to this nagging problem is the JUGS Backyard Bullpen invented by Dave Candello and Greg Anderson, both longtime JUGS employees.

This system, which any pitcher can buy and put in his parents’ backyard, features a strike zone with 12 individual hit-your-spot pockets to isolate specific spots to aim for.

It also has a seven foot protective netting surrounding this strike zone which will catch any wild throws by pitchers.

The system also includes a JUGS Radar Cube (uses 6 AA batteries that last 8 hours) for velocity readout of pitches and tripod which gives the same accuracy index as the JUGS Radar Gun (plus or minus 1/2 mph). The Radar Cube and tripod are placed in back of the netting.

In addition, you receive 15 Perfect Pitch throwing baseballs. These are not simply baseballs. Each ball has a specific count with a pitch you are working on (for example changeup), and a location diagram grid with dots which pinpoints spots you are striving to hit.

Pitchers then take the mound and attempt to throw a perfect changeup (or other pitch directed on the ball) to the proper location.

After all balls are thrown, the pitcher recovers balls from each pocket to determine his accuracy and what must be worked on. He can write down this information or put it in a computer.

If he has a recorder, he can look at the velocity he has thrown after releasing the pitch and verbally give the MPH he threw the pitch and what pitch it was. Then you can track the differentials between fastballs and other pitches as far as miles per hour.

In short, the pitcher can do all of this now without anyone being there. This system will help pitchers spot their pitches based on count and speed. Pitchers will be able to work at their skills in practice until it becomes second nature in a game. They will not only isolate the strike zone, but a certain spot in the zone.

Dartfish Note App
Dartfish Note will take the use of video and practice performance feedback to new levels. What makes this toolset powerful is the way coaches can quickly review a player’s performance in practice and determine the areas that player needs to work on to improve. Coaches can review any player’s practice video – with performance data.

When you find the video that you want to review, for example all fastballs that missed the plate for a particular pitcher, you can download those pitches into the mobile App Dartfish Express and be able to review the video anywhere at any time even if you are not connected to the internet.

Trivia: Name 20 Ways To Stop Baseball Games

Trivia: Name 20 Ways To Stop Baseball Games

Rain Drops 2008 CWSOne of the greatest trivia questions of all time involves Bill Berrier, former coach at Juniata College for 32 years.

He was involved in more unique baseball game cancellations or postponements than anyone in the history of the game. Incredibly, he witnessed 20 different scenarios for games being called in his career.

Most people can’t mention 10 ways a game can be stopped let alone 20.

Berrier also managed 12 seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system prior to coming to Juniata.

Without further adieu, let’s go over this impressive list:

1. Rain.
4. June bug problem near Mississippi River.
Bus breakdown 200 miles from town.
Smoke (fire in dump by field).
Toxic fumes (power plant).
8. Toxic fumes (fertilization plant).
9. Tornado.
10. Light failure.
11. Dust storm (Texas League).
12. Lightning storm.
13. Hail storm (with heavy sleet).
14. Cold weather (second game 16 degrees).
15. Hurricane (Florida State League).
16. Nuked out (Three Mile Island).
17. Sprinkler system trouble (broken sprinkler head in centerfield caused huge spray of water which nobody could shut off).
18. Rocking light towers. Umpires called game due to heavy winds which rocked light towers to edge of breaking. Also, there was concern about a possible tornado.
19. No umpires.
20. Fog.

Berrier was asked what his most memorable game stoppage was among the 20 he listed.

“Probably the most unusual cancellation took place during the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster,” said Berrier.

“You could say we were nuked out that day. I am only aware of three college programs in baseball history which have ever been nuked out, and I was the coach of one of those teams. The other two were Elizabethtown College and York College.”

The Three Mile Island Unit 2 reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down on March 28, 1979. This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, although its small radioactive releases had no detectable health effects on plant workers or the public.

To read more about the 20 unique ways that Berrier has seen baseball games stopped, purchase the 2015 College Preview edition of Collegiate Baseball (Jan. 2, 2015) by CLICKING HERE.

2015 Pre-Season College Baseball Polls

2015 Pre-Season College Baseball Polls

Our web site has every 2015 college pre-season baseball poll, including:

• NCAA Division 1, CLICK HERE

• NCAA Division 2, CLICK HERE

• NCAA Division 3, CLICK HERE


• NJCAA Division 1, CLICK HERE

• NJCAA Division 2, CLICK HERE

• NJCAA Division 3, CLICK HERE

• California Community Colleges, CLICK HERE

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Amazing Perez Throws From Left, Right Sides

Amazing Perez Throws From Left, Right Sides

Ryan Perez Mug JudsonBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

ELGIN, Ill. — Ryan Perez of Judson University is one of the rarest of all pitchers. He is a righthanded and lefthanded pitcher. Even more amazing is that he has topped out at 94 mph as a southpaw and 92 mph as a righthander.

He was highly impressive last summer as he was named MVP of the Cape Cod League All-Star game for Hyannis. In that game, he struck out a batter lefthanded, one righthanded and a third lefthanded in the third inning.

If Perez keeps improving, he may be drafted within the first two rounds of the 2015 Free Agent Draft.

The 6-foot, 188-pounder is a hot commodity with this unique skill set.

How in the world does someone learn to pitch both ways?

“When I was barely able to walk, my dad Juan made me throw lefthanded. But I was naturally a righthander. I was picking up stuff and throwing it at a very young age with both hands. I can’t remember any of that, but that is what I have been told.”

When Perez started playing organized baseball in T-Ball and Little League, he worked on throwing lefthanded to gain more control that way. But he also threw from the right side as well.

“I remember playing first base lefthanded and then sometimes playing third base as a righthander. At an early age, I was pitching against one batter lefthanded and then the next righthanded.”

To gain better command of his pitches, his father worked with him extremely hard when he was 12 to 13 years old.

“I would long toss 50 throws lefthanded and then another 50 throws righthanded. After that, I would throw 150 pitches lefthanded from the mound and then another 150 pitches righthanded from the mound. To develop my eye-hand coordination, my dad also hit a bunch of fly balls to me going left and right. In addition, he would hit me ground balls both ways. And I got stronger and sharper as I did these workouts.”

As Ryan progressed over the years, he was able to refine his mechanics as a pitcher.

From the right side, he throws a 4-seam fastball, changeup, curve and cutter. As a lefthander, he also throws a 4-seam fastball, changeup, curve and cutter.

The only difference between the two deliveries is that he has a higher leg kick with his lefthanded delivery and strides out a bit further. His three quarter arm slot and all other mechanics are essentially the same from the right and left sides.

Surgery Setback
During the summer prior to his senior year at Westminster Christian High School (Elgin, Ill.) Ryan suffered a serious setback during a pitching outing in Jupiter, Fla. during a showcase event.

“I was throwing with my right arm when I heard a crack as if I was cracking my knuckles. Then I felt the sensation of liquid rushing down my arm, and I was concerned. But I threw another pitch, and I had sharp pain in my right elbow. After another attempt to throw, it was obvious something serious happened and came out of the game. But the next day, I pitched lefthanded but was extremely worried about my right elbow.

“The injury happened on Oct. 28 the day after my birthday. Then a month later on Nov. 27, I had Tommy John surgery on my right elbow.”

It takes a year to rehabilitate such an injury. But a few months later after a brace was taken off his right arm, his surgeon gave him the go ahead to pitch during his senior year lefthanded. He also was allowed to hit lefthanded as well but not from the right side since he is also a switch hitter.

“I was fortunate to play during my senior year of high school. But I was also rehabbing my right arm during this time.”

Tough Freshman Year
When Ryan got to Judson University as a freshman, he pitched from the right and left side during the fall. But he had a scare when a pitch thrown from the right side resulted in popping sound from his elbow.

He quickly arranged for a visit to his surgeon, and tests showed that nothing was wrong with his reconstructed right elbow. But just to be safe, he did not pitch again as a freshman with his right arm and only threw from the left side as the arm was slowly rehabbed again.

He posted a 6-4 record that season as a lefty at Judson with a 4.04 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 64 2/3 innings over 19 appearances.

In the fall of 2013, his right arm was in tip-top shape as he topped out at 92 mph from that side.

Velocity Gains
His velocity gains at Judson University have been amazing. When he showed up as a freshman, he only weighed 168 pounds and threw 85-88 mph.

But when he added 20 pounds, his velocity jumped to 94 mph from the left side and 92 from the right side. Judson Head Coach Rich Benjamin can’t wait to see the improvement Perez will keep making.

“Ryan really dedicated himself when he was young to being an outstanding pitcher from both sides,” said Benjamin.

“The long hours of work are a reason why few ever attempt to do this. When he put on 20 pounds after he got here as a freshman, his velocity really went up. And I honestly feel he has more in the tank as he adds even more weight to his frame.

“He throws four pitches from either the left or right side, and most of the time he is able to throw three of those pitches for strikes in games. When he puts everything together, he should be given an opportunity at the next level (pro baseball). During the 2014 season, he hit 94 mph twice in games from the left side.”

Benjamin said that he has never coached a pitcher with the skill set Perez has.

“It is extremely rare to even see someone throw from both sides. But when you do, they might be able to throw hard from one side and only 82-83 from the other. Having arm strength from both sides is so rare.”

Benjamin was asked what nuances his pitching charts show of Perez from the left and right side.

“We keep track of all the important pitching stats. Currently he has more command from the left side. He has good command from the right side as well, but he hasn’t developed the pitching rhythm that he will with more repetitions as the season goes. His best days are in front of him. From the right side, he has a plus slider which is just missing down. They are good misses. From both sides, he is able to throw three pitches for strikes in most outings.”

Utilizing Him To Max
Perez’ unique skill set can cause a coaches’ head to spin with how he can be utilized in games.

“As his stamina from the right side grows, we will have the opportunity to get two starts a week from him — one from the right side and another from the left,” said Benjamin.

“But we have to guard against wearing down his body. While one of his arms may be fresh, his body will still experience the rigors of pitching from his previous outing. As long as we give his body enough recovery time, I feel he will be fine. I can envision him throwing 70 pitches from the left side on Tuesday and then throw three innings from the right side on Friday or Saturday.

“We will monitor him to see what the appropriate rest should be for his body and how quickly he recovers.”

Benjamin said there has been a lot of dialogue on how to handle bullpens with Perez.

“That is a major challenge. We have found that giving him equal reps from both sides is the best course of action in bullpens. He needs that consistency so both sides can be at maximum efficiency.”

Benjamin said that when you face a team that has six lefthanded batters in the lineup and three righthanded batters, Perez could throw from the left side to all lefty hitters and switch to the right side against the righthanded batters.

Or he could throw righthanded the first two times through the lineup and then switch to a southpaw the next time through the order. And you could always have him pitch one batter righthanded, the next lefthanded and switch this way through the game.

Defensively, he has a big advantage on bunts down the lines.

“At times when bunts have been hit down the third base line and I am pitching as a lefthander, I drop the glove and throw the ball to first from my right hand on close plays,” said Perez.

“I could do the same with bunts down the first base line on plays to third if I needed to.”

Another Twist In Story
Perez was asked if he has ever experimented with throwing submarine or low sidearm before. And the startling answer is yes.

“I actually have pitched from a low sidearm delivery before and have practiced it with my dad on many occasions to make me more versatile. And I can do it from both sides as well,” said Perez.

“But the coaches at Judson University don’t feel it is in my best interests to throw from this angle at this level. I have four pitches on each side from three quarters, and they want me to refine this to the best I can. With the velocity jump from last year, it seems like a good idea.”

To read more about the amazing ambidextrous pitcher Ryan Perez, purchase the March 24, 2014 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

Kuhn Named National Pitching Coach Of Year

Kuhn Named National Pitching Coach Of Year

Karl Kuhn

Karl Kuhn has been named Collegiate Baseball newspaper’s 2014 National Pitching Coach of The Year.

Sponsored by EDGE charting software and web stats, the award is in its 12th year.

The University of Virginia pitching coach will receive the award at the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Orlando, Fla. Jan. 4 at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

Entering his 12th season with the Cavaliers, Kuhn has been a pitching coach for 23 years.

Since 2005, the Cavaliers own a 3.04 cumulative ERA, lowest in the nation.

His staff has ranked among the top 20 teams nationally in ERA nine of the last 11 years, including a No. 1 ranking in 2011 and a No. 2 standing in 2014 when UVa posted the lowest ERA at UVa in 40 years.

The Cavaliers also have racked up four No. 3 national ERA rankings (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009) during Kuhn’s tenure.

During Kuhn’s tenure at Virginia, his pitchers have produced 75 shutouts, including an ACC-record 16 in 2011. The Cavaliers also have boasted a league-high 26 ACC Pitchers of the Week during the last 10 years.

Kuhn’s pitchers are notorious for pounding the strike zone, averaging just 2.8 walks per nine innings since 2004 – fewest in the ACC.

Four of Kuhn’s UVa protégés have gone on to reach the major league level, including Michael Schwimer, Mike Ballard, Sean Doolittle and Kyle Crockett.

Thirty-one of Kuhn’s Virginia pitchers have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including 15 in the top 10 rounds.

An in-depth story on the pitching philosophy of Kuhn will appear in the Jan. 2, 2015 College Baseball National Preview edition. To subscribe or reserve a copy of that issue, CLICK HERE.

Previous National Pitching Coaches of The Year:

2013: Nate Yeskie (Oregon St.)

2012: Shaun Cole (Arizona)

2011: Phil Cundari (Seton Hall)

2010: Mark Calvi (South Carolina)

2009: Jerry Weinstein (Sacramento City College/Colorado Rockies)

2008: Dan Spencer (Oregon St., Texas Tech.)

2007: Scott Forbes (North Carolina)

2006: Gordie Alderink (Grand Valley St.)

2005: Tom Holliday (Texas/North Carolina St.)

2004: Derek Johnson (Vanderbilt)

2003: Mark McQueen (VCU/Richmond)


LSU Lands No. 1 Recruiting Class In USA

LSU Lands No. 1 Recruiting Class In USA

Paul Mainieri LSU MugTUCSON, Ariz. — Louisiana State landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball’s annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes.

It marks the Tigers’ fourth national recruiting title in the 32-year history of the rankings by Collegiate Baseball.

LSU has also captured recruiting championships in 2010, 2007 and 2004.

Of the 12 recruits, which included 11 freshmen and one junior college transfer, five were drafted last June while five other players were high school All-Americans.

Tiger Head Coach Paul Mainieri said this impressive recruiting haul is as good as you can get under NCAA rules governing roster sizes and scholarships.

“We sort of gambled and went after some really talented players that we knew would be draft risks who would possibly not ever make it to campus,” said Mainieri.

“However, in the months since they all signed with us last November, in the conversations we had with them and the actions they were displaying, I could start to sense this was a different group in that they would openly express their desire to be here, be a part of LSU, and understood the significance of being an LSU baseball player.

“And that’s what you dream of as a coach and what you want in the players’ attitudes as they join your team. Our top priority was to add to our pitching staff some power arms.

And we thought they could really make a difference, and I feel we accomplished that goal.”

LSU landed seven superb pitchers, including three draft picks, two All-Americans and a member of the 2014 NJCAA National Team.

The class was assembled by former recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez, who departed LSU in July to begin a career in business.

LSU also continued a trend where a school from the Southeastern Conference has won the recruiting title 11 of the last 12 years.

Athletes who initially signed letters of intent with a school, but then signed a pro contract after being drafted, do not count in the overall evaluation. Only athletes who came to school this fall are factored in.

The Tigers’ five players who were drafted last June include:

  • LHP Jake Latz (Lemont H.S., Lemont, IL), 11th round pick by Toronto.
  • C Mike Papierski (Lemont H.S., Lemont, IL), 16th round pick by Toronto.
  • LHP Mac Marshall (Parkview H.S., Lilburn, GA), 21st round pick by Houston.
  • RHP Jake Godfrey (Providence Catholic, New Lenox, IL), 21st round pick by Atlanta.
  • INF Grayson Byrd (King’s Ridge Christian, Milton, GA), 39th round pick by Atlanta.

The five high school All-Americans were:

  • INF Greg Deichmann (Brother Martin H.S., New Orleans, LA).
  • OF Beau Jordan (Barbe H.S., Lake Charles, LA).
  • C/INF Bryce Jordan (Barbe H.S., Lake Charles, LA).
  • RHP Alex Lang (Lee’s Summit West H.S., MO).
  • RHP Doug Norman (Ardrey Kell H.S., Charlotte, N.C.).

The lone junior college recruit was P Collin Strall from Tallahassee C.C. who was a member of the 2014 NJCAA national team. He is a sidearm reliever who sits in the mid to upper 80s with great movement. Strall made a team-high 24 appearances last season and recorded a 2.54 ERA with 63 strikeouts, 17 walks and a 7-2 record.

Also in the class was RHP/INF Austin Bain (Dutchtown H.S., Geismar, LA). He hit .374 with 11 doubles, 5 triples and collected 39 RBI. On the mound, he had a 2.85 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings. He was named an All-State Honorable Mention pick.

A complete rundown on the top 20 recruiting classes is featured in the Oct. 3 issue of Collegiate Baseball.

 2014 NCAA Div. I
Recruiting Results
By Collegiate Baseball

1. Louisiana St.
2. Wichita St.
3. Florida
4. San Diego
5. Oklahoma St.
6. Mississippi St.
7. Texas
8. Stanford
9. Virginia
10. Cal. St. Fullerton
11.North Carolina
12. Oregon St.
13. Texas Tech.
14. Kentucky
15. Mississippi
16. Arkansas
17. UCLA
18. Long Beach St.
19. Oregon
20. Miami, Fla.
Florida St.

22. Texas Christian
23. Rice
24. South Carolina
25. Vanderbilt
26. Louisville
27. Arizona St.
28. Arizona
29. Florida International
30. Michigan
31. Missouri
32. San Diego St.
33. Houston
34. Tennessee
35. Clemson
36. Duke
37. Stetson
38. Florida Gulf Coast
39. California
40. Texas A&M

Other Top Recruiting Classes: Georgia Tech., Nevada, Dallas Baptist, Alabama, Maryland, Indiana, U.C. Irvine, UNLV, Southern California, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Central Florida, U.C. Santa Barbara, Cal. Poly, Kennesaw St., Notre Dame, Kansas, Loyola Marymount, Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia, Missouri St., Maine, Nebraska, Florida Atlantic, Baylor, Hawaii, Minnesota, Southeastern Louisiana, South Alabama, Kansas St., Liberty, Kent St., Lipscomb, Fresno St., Sam Houston St., Pepperdine, North Florida, Old Dominion, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Middle Tennessee, Oral Roberts, Georgia St., Tennessee Tech., Alabama-Birmingham, Cincinnati, Michigan St., Virginia Tech., Washington, Washington St., Ball St., Western Michigan, Sam Houston St., West Virginia, Winthrop, Coastal Carolina, Connecticut, Central Michigan, Texas St., Southern Mississippi, Wake Forest, Tulane, South Florida, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Stony Brook, Ohio State, Purdue, New Mexico, Georgia Southern, Creighton, Illinois, U.C. Riverside, James Madison, William & Mary, East Carolina, Troy, Nicholls St.

Source: Collegiate Baseball


Previous NCAA Div. I
Recruiting Champions
By Collegiate Baseball

2013: Florida
2012: Vanderbilt
2011: South Carolina
2010: Louisiana St.
2009: Florida
2008: Arizona St.
2007: Louisiana St.
2006: South Carolina
2005: South Carolina
2004: Louisiana St.
2003: North Carolina
South Carolina
2002: Georgia Tech.
2001: Southern California
2000: Cal. St. Fullerton

1999: Southern California
1998: Georgia Tech.
1997: UCLA
1996: Texas A&M
1995: Arizona St.
1994: Mississippi St.
1993: Miami (Fla.)
1992: Florida St.
1991: Miami (Fla.)
1990: Arizona
1989: Florida St.
1988: Miami (Fla.)
1987: Stanford
1986: Stanford
1985: Hawaii
1984: Florida St.
1983: Arizona St.

Source: Collegiate Baseball