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COVID Crushers

COVID Crushers

For the 2020 season, I was a Development Coach and assigned to Triple-A Omaha. It was a dream come true and the dream was just starting. Then COVID rocked the nation and changed everything. The Minor League season was cancelled, and the first few months were zoom calls and going over 2-month-old reports.

In July, the hitting department came up with the COVID Crushers Challenge. It was a way for us to keep tabs on our hitters at home, as well as make sure we had hitters ready to join the alternate site in case of a COVID outbreak. The players had 30 swings total, they had to have a plan and approach. They were rewarded for sticking to their plan/approach as well as hitting the ball hard, and deducted points for deviating from their plan/approach. The players sent in video to their assigned hitting and development coaches, where we would then grade the video based on a points system.

Below is an example of what I did with videos where the angle is off centered, or if the video was shaky. I tracked a mock strike zone into the video, so I can better understand the zone.

I was also curious to know if there was any sort of correlation between that player’s hard-hit rate from 2019 vs how well they performed in the COVID Challenge. Below is what I found using R.

The evidence was not as conclusive as I had hoped. A lot of our low EV contact guys were able to just get their pitch and not miss it, so their point total was inflated by following their plan/approach opposed to hitting the ball hard.

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