PITTSBURGH – Major League Baseball has approved the in-game use of bat sensors and sensor-embedded smart bats throughout its minor leagues for the 2018 season, as first reported yesterday by SportTechie.
The rule change comes on the heels of swift technological changes and adoption at both the minor league, NCAA and amateur levels, with Diamond Kinetics’ SwingTracker technology front and center throughout it all.
Sensor use in-game can be used traditionally, on the knob of the bat, or with smart-enabled bats – such as the Marucci & Diamond Kinetics Smart Bat – with the sensor embedded in the knob of the bat.
While both have been approved for the rookie leagues, the implementation of smart-enabled bats signifies a huge step forward for smart equipment use and adoption at all levels of baseball.
Just last year, MLB conducted a pilot program that allowed for the in-game use of sensors in the Gulf Coast League and the Arizona Summer League (the two rookie-level Minor League Baseball leagues of MLB).
Moreover, the NCAA approved the use of embedded sensors for this spring’s college softball season, while such amateur leagues as PONY Baseball & Softball have approved in-game sensor use for softball starting this year, with baseball to follow next year.
“We have seen how the emergence of technology in baseball has largely been analysis of outcomes,” Diamond Kinetics CEO C.J. Handron said. “This allows us to measure, learn and understand what creates those outcomes. The ability to capture in-game swing data and immediately marry that to outcomes is a really exciting byproduct of this approval. We hope this will continue to drive learning around how to apply swing mechanic data in player development at all levels.”
Handron called the change a good indicator of the value of in-game data, which he expects to “continue a positive trend in the same direction in the amateur ranks.”
“The ability to see how a player’s in-game data can compare to a more controlled batting practice environment will be a valuable comparison in player development,” Handron added, noting that pro and amateur teams have expressed interest in seeing this done.