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The Importance of Technology and Human Expertise in Baseball Talent Evaluation

In a digital era in which computing and artificial intelligence threaten to displace the human factor, or at least that is what many fear, baseball is seeking to demonstrate the importance of both elements coexisting for the benefit of the future of the sport, and, of course , of athletes.

Henry González, director of international operations for Major League Baseball (MLB), highlighted the implementation of the use of technology in the annual ‘showcase’ at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, where once again close to a hundred high school players – who will be eligible for the Major League rookie draft in 2024 – were exposed to talent evaluators on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Armed with a camera system known as Synergy, and the recent Trackman technology, today the 30 Major League organizations have at their disposal an incalculable amount of information on each player.

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It is easy to think, therefore, that for these tests or ‘tryouts’ as they are known, it is not strictly necessary for the organizations to all be present on the island to evaluate the talent of the yard.

González, however, explained why the human factor is more important than ever, while applauding the use of technology for the benefit of all parties, including the players in the pursuit of their dreams.

Henry González, director of international operations for Major League Baseball (MLB). (David Villafañe/Staff)

“The (Major League) teams and all general managers have access to that information. Remember that players here compete with others from the United States. So, they already have direct exposure, and the earlier and more constant that is done in Puerto Rico, the managers have access to that information on players from Puerto Rico. This data is uploaded here and shared with the 30 Major League teams, and there are also schools that ask. So there is profit here,” González told El Nuevo Día.

The information collected by these systems is none other than different types of metrics such as the speed at which the ball leaves when it is hit by a player, the exit angle of the ball, the projection of the distance of each hit, as well as the running speed of the players, among many other data collected by the ‘Trackman’.

Trackman technology was used this week at the MLB showcase at the Bithorn. (Supplied / MLB)

“This information is handled as if it were a profile of each player. Once you connect, everything is achieved. ‘Synergy’ are cameras that are here and are also used in winter leagues, which accumulate all the pitches of each pitcher and all the swings of the hitters,” he said.

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“For example, it tells you, out of 100 at-bats, how many times he batted in the air, how many were groundballs, how many times the batter took a pitch, what his effectiveness is with curves. It’s an impressive thing. “He is a world,” he added.

But there is something that all the technology in the world cannot measure and that is where González makes a very important clarification, as he said that the same information that can be very useful, for example, to decide on a player and select him in the draw rookies to then sign it, it is the same information that can deceive some if other factors are not taken into account.

“It’s good that that part is not confused. Scouts are essential. Even what this has done (the implementation of technology), and the trend in the places we have been, is that the teams say, ‘these numbers are giving me this (data) and I am going to have to hire someone to see if what the data says, the player can put into the game, with the ‘feel’ of the game, if he is a pitcher, when he has runners on first and second and two outs,’” he highlighted.

“Cold data can be deceiving. You need someone to give you the important part of how the player reacts. At the end of the day, the combination is important,” González added, referring to technology and the presence of talent evaluators.

González pointed out that another important part of the information collected by MLB on each draft-eligible player is that families would not necessarily have to expose themselves to paying high amounts of money to travel outside of Puerto Rico to private ‘showcases’ in the that thousands of dollars are charged for registration, not counting what you have to invest in plane tickets and accommodation.

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The MLB official said that with the profile that is created for each player, their information is available to all Major League organizations, and it is no longer a matter of just mastering these tryout events that take place in the United States. .

Several insiders agreed on a list of around 21 players who look like prospects with a certain chance of being selected in the draft, subject to how their progress and development continues in recent months.

Iván Luciano is considered one of the top prospects in the Class of 2024. (David Villafañe/Staff)

Of the group, six receivers stand out, in a 2024 class in which catchers are once again the majority after several years in which other position players, especially shortstops, dominated.

Iván Luciano, Gabriel Rosado, Jeremy Martínez, Yanuel Casiano, Ediel Rivera and Derek González are the aforementioned high school receivers that experts believe have a chance to be claimed in the July draft.

Also mentioned were infielders Adrian Areizaga, Hiram Bocachica Jr., Christian Villanueva, Jared Vega, Joey Rosa and Christian Tavarez.

Among the outfielders, Jan Luis Reyes, Derek Datil, Misael Maldonado and Yan Cruz stand out. Meanwhile, Joek Rivera is a utility player who can play both in the infield and in the outfield. He is the twin brother of catcher Ediel Rivera.

On the other hand, the pitchers seem to be fewer in 2024 and at the moment there are only three that experts mention with some talent, such as Ángel Cruz, Misael Ramos and Roberto Barreto, but they consider that they should increase the speed of their fastball to over 92 miles per hour, so that the chances of being claimed in the draw are greater. They are shooters that so far reach 90 miles, according to wiretapping reports.

2024-02-02 18:53:02
#technologies #evaluate #baseball #prospects #view #Major #League #rookie #draft

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