I observed Rapsodo in action over the past few months at Silverback Athlete in Sarasota, FL. Andrew had mentioned he was really diving into data using Rapsodo, and it was opening his mind to new ways of working with players. I’m in the baseball training aid business now, but in a past life I was a communications guy on a small army team. My job was to learn, teach and maintain a ton of gadgets we used for operations. Good technology is more than just a new capability. A tech product needs be consumer friendly – easy for the everyday user to operate; convenient to set up / tear down; and in the case of data capture and analysis products for sports specifically, the effort should lead to some sort of actionable takeaway such as new methods for training or at a minimum better insights. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of numbers without context or application.
After observing several hitting sessions with Rapsodo, I knew it would certainly be valuable to share with the Tanner community, especially considering the fast progression of baseball tech products and new terminology/statistics in today’s game. A lot of facilities are using technologies like Rapsodo, Blast Motion, Driveline, and HitTrax and many of them are our customers too.
Rapsodo is not a brand-new product, I’ve seen it a few times at the annual baseball trade show. But baseball tech and the widespread acceptance of statcast on MLB Network is the direction the game is going (for now). Read Tech Products Blog. Rapsodo has many great features, including ease of use and clear reporting. It’s simple to set up - just connect the power cord and place it down on the ground at the recommended distance from the contact point. The camera picks up the motion of the baseball, analyzes it, and then records it in the app for further review.
The app tech itself is intuitive for users to manipulate screens. Graphs and charts are well-defined, very visible, and many data points can be analyzed by player and coach by simply scrolling up.
Featured in our video is Alex Pressley. He has 12 years in professional baseball with significant big league time as well. Very cool for us to have the opportunity to work with Alex and Andrew, two pros with experience at the highest levels who are embracing tech and combining their long time experience with numbers.
His (unscripted) comments with Andrew about “opening him up to try new things” is interesting. What didn’t make it into the video for time was the conversation they had about how Rapsodo combines with their experience to validate certain things that prior to Rapsodo were observable by feeling only – that felt good, that felt clean, that was backspin, that was off center, etc. And this is the best way to adopt new technologies into baseball. Have an open mind, be willing to try new things, but validate the new tech for accuracy against what you know to be true.
As seen in our video summary, the Rapsodo technology provides a myriad of data points to baseball experienced coaches and hitters. See below for the list of baseball terms used by Andrew and Alex that you may want to understand. I know that working in baseball but not being a baseball guy, I hear these terms all the time and it’s important for hitters and instructors and me too to understand them because the game is full of new statistics to measure players that are fueled by new technologies.
Glossary of Terms
LaunchAngle: the vertical angle at which the ball leaves a player's bat after being struck.
ExitVelocity: the speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
SpinRate: the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute.
Batted BallDirection: the horizontal direction at which the ball leaves a player's bat after being struck.
HitDistance: the distance away from home plate that a batted ball lands -- whether by hitting the ground, the seats, the wall or a fielder's glove