We should all hope there is never another draft like the 2020 MLB Draft. The unique circumstances surrounding baseball and the rest of the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic require all of us to be much more cautious about when, where, and how we congregate. Such restrictions, as you are aware, led to the abrupt cancellations of amateur baseball seasons.
Without these games, high school and college players lost precious opportunities to prove and elevate their draft value in front of professional scouts. Conversely, scouts were faced with the daunting task of submitting scouting reports and providing grades for players they may have only seen for only a small handful of games at most.
Rapsodo was able to help bridge that gap, as players were able to post their bullpen session and cage work videos straight to their social media accounts, complete with slow-motion capture and data overlays.
This provided players in lesser-scouted areas the chance to get in front of the eyes of scouts and front office personnel, albeit through the lens of a smartphone app. It also gave more “established” prospects the opportunity to show that they were not simply resting on their laurels in the lead up to the draft, but instead were diligently working to develop as much as possible.
Such utilization of our technology prompted us to unveil each player’s SuperScore on draft day. The idea of the SuperScore is simple: take the best measurements of each pitch type or hit made by a player and stitch them together to provide a glimpse into the overall “stuff” that players possesses. We’ll take a look at ten players total (five pitchers, five hitters to come) and their respective SuperScores – as well as any other pertinent information, such as Rapsodo videos or UI examples – to illustrate the concept of SuperScore and its most effective use.
You don’t need to be an expert baseball analyst to understand why Meyer was the first pitcher selected in this year’s draft.
The elite velocity – both of his fastball and slider – will play at any level of professional baseball. Meyer couples that premier velocity with excellent, above-average spin, which helps the pitch attain nearly 30 inches of total spin-induced movement.
Notice, though, that the slider has a much lower break measurement; this is due to the high amount of gyro spin on the pitch, which only helps propel the ball towards home plate rather than cause any direct pitch break.
Similar to Meyer, Lacy possesses a plus-plus fastball, his version coming in with even higher spin and, thus, more total break. When coupled with his curveball, he’s able to achieve a maximum of nearly 5 ½ feet of total break separation while maintaining premium velocity on both pitches.
His slider is also thrown at a high speed with high raw spin and high gyro spin, giving it depth while still flashing trademark slider bite.
Looking strictly at Bauer Units (spin rate/velocity), Detmers’ fastball SuperScore comes in right at the MLB average of 24. Despite this, he is still able to generate almost 2 ½ feet of break on the pitch, which can be attributed to near-perfect spin efficiency measurements.
However, unlike the other four pitchers we’ve examined, the curveball is the emphasis. Detmers is able to generate not just plus spin but also exceptionally high spin efficiency on his breaking ball, which is evidenced by the pitch’s 2 ½ feet of max break.
We typically associate high spin rate on fastballs with rising action on the pitch. Crochet, however, utilizes his high spin rate to create absurd arm-side movement on the pitch. This gives the pitch a lot of life and, when coupled with his Chris Sale-esque delivery, makes it that much more difficult to square up.
He pairs this fastball with more of a sweeping slider that pairs as a phenomenal weapon off his fastball; again, the increased gyro spin on the pitch minimizes the spin-induced break but adds some depth to the pitch.
Much like Austin Hendrick, Bitsko is a highly-touted prep player who had his senior season of high school cancelled, leaving him with limited opportunities to establish his draft value for 2020.
Luckily, he shared his Rapsodo data and briefly broke Baseball Twitter® with his advanced stuff.
When compared to other pitchers here, his fastball SuperScore may seem underwhelming; however, Bitsko is able to get near-perfect spin efficiency on the pitch while also throwing it from an almost pure over-the-top spin direction.
This maximizes the vertical break and minimizes the horizontal break, which inherently will lead to an impressive – albeit lower – total max break. His curveball should actually be classified as a slider, given the single-digit total max break (i.e. extremely high gyro spin). The scores indicate that he, at 17-years-old, has incredible feel for getting nearly perfect, over-the-top backspin on his fastball and nearly-perfect, depth-creating gyro spin on his breaking ball.
Check back to our blog for a review of Hitting SuperScores for 5 other draftees!