GEICO Baseball City Series Provides Metrics For Inner-City College Baseball Hopefuls
Inner-City high school baseball players from Chicago, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles had the opportunity to record advanced statistics such as exit velocity and spin rate, statistics which have become crucial in the college baseball recruitment process.
“It was insane,” New York catcher Andrew Partnow said. “I felt like I was in the NFL combine.”
Although the compilation of metrics is only one facet of the larger GEICO Baseball City Series, whose third place and championship games will take place Thursday on ESPNU, it was crucial for event organizers to provide kids with free access to numbers that otherwise may have been cost-prohibitive to acquire.
“Not only will kids be able to tell recruiters about their exposure on television, but they are walking away with metrics they can show recruiters,” said GEICO City Series Senior Advisor David Rosengard.
With help from Headfirst Honor Roll Camps, a company which hosts metrics-based showcases across the country, players had access to exercises such as laser-recorded 60-meter-dashes, high jumps, and broad jumps. Also, Rapsodo equipment was on hand to measure spin rate and spin axis, as well as launch angle and exit velocity measurements.
“It gave us things we don’t normally think about,” said New York catcher Joan Peralta. “Who wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘what’s my broad jump going to be in baseball today?’ Now we have this info and maybe that long jump is what saves you and gets you into college.”
Many of the players participating in this tournament have never had the chance, or money, to record their advanced metrics.
“They got to do something that would more than likely cost them thousands of dollars and many of our families would not have the funds to cover something like this,” New York coach Ramon Canela said. “So having the chance to walk away with some of these metrics was a great opportunity.”
While the metrics showcase allowed many players to record their advanced numbers for the first time, others had participated in events like this before and understand how important building one’s biomechanical portfolio can be.
For example, Chicago pitcher Kevin Coe Jr. attests that a portfolio of advanced metrics was crucial to his recruitment to Eastern Kentucky University.
“Oh man, it was awesome,” Chicago pitcher Kevin Coe Jr. said. “The game is evolving nowadays and a lot of coaches take that into account. Everything from your 60 meter time to your exit velocity, It’s all really important today and its important to the recruiting process.”
Team New York coach Elvis Valdez understands both how fortunate his team is to have access to such expensive equipment and how important these numbers are in the recruiting process.
Fact Or Fiction? Scouting Departments Must Make Tough Draft Calls Off Smaller Sample Sizes
Early looks don’t always tell the whole story, but in 2020 that’s all scouts have.
The only other data these kids normally have access to is on our league website,” said Valdez. “Right now these kids not only have data that will allow recruiters to not only look beyond the numbers to really see what these athletes are about, but can project the ways our kids will improve over the course of the next year.”
“To have my exit velocity, my overhand velocity, my pop time — and I can email all of this to a coach and now he has it at his fingertips? It’s amazing,” said Peralta.
Although preparing for college recruitment is an important part of the week, each team is competing bragging rights on and off the field.
It was pretty cool to compare yourself to the athletes around you,” said Chicago infielder Donavan Noble. “You get to look at the guys standing next to you and be like ‘I’m a little bit faster than you.’ Or ‘I jump a little bit farther than you.’ It’s a great way to show where you stand against the best.”
The GEICO Baseball city series third place and championship games will be broadcast live on ESPNU Thursday, July 11, starting at 3pm EST and 6pm EST, respectively.