Matching Up: Luisa Gauci Develops 20-to-80 Scouting Scale For Women's Baseball
As the only girl playing on club baseball teams in Australia, Luisa Gauci never really knew how she measured up against her baseball playing peers, because, well, she didn’t really have any peers to measure up to.
She knew she could run. She was confident that she could cover plenty of ground in the outfield and could string together good at-bats. But in her efforts to find out how she measured up against other women playing baseball, she struck out.
“That’s all I wanted when I was a young girl playing baseball," Gauci said. "I didn’t want to compare myself to men."
Rather than just decry her fate, Gauci decided to do something about it. Using the 2018 Women’s World Cup and other top women’s events as the data points, Gauci has created a 20-to-80 scouting scale for women’s baseball. She presented her findings at a recent Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) talk as part of a Women In Baseball virtual convention earlier in September.
The result was a 20-to-80 scale for women’s baseball. A pitcher throwing 62-64 mph rates as an average 50 on the scale. Speed (measured by 60-yard dashes or by home-to-first), isolated power and batting average were all rescaled for women’s baseball.
The project is a work-in-progress. Gauci hopes to eventually add arm strength (measured by throws across the diamond) and power (measured by exit velocity) to the scale. The data sets she is working with right now are small. The games she has watched did not have enough lefthanded hitters to allow her to confidently measure home-to-first times for lefties.
And while most games at the Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and college level are tracked by various technologies that quantify every pitch and ball put in play by a variety of metrics, very few women's games, even at the elite level, have been played on fields with Trackman, FlightScope, Rapsodo or other tracking devices.
But already, it provides benchmarks for women’s baseball players to understand what is elite, what is average and what is below average. Any women’s pitcher topping 80 mph is demonstrating truly elite velocity. Among players at the elite level, a batter going home to first in under 4.5 seconds is a burner.
“I always thought I was bad,” Gauci said. “I’m not bad. If younger girls had this, if women had this they can see where they are at.”
When she first started her project, she was told by a number of people that there wasn’t really a need for a rescaled 20-to-80 scale for women’s baseball. But Gauci decided that she needed there to be one.
Gauci now is a second baseman for West Los Angeles Junior College. She’s also interning at Driveline Baseball and training there. When she arrived, she found that Driveline doesn’t have a robust data set for average ranges for women’s baseball players when it comes to exit velocities and strength metrics. So she’s starting to add to that dataset as well.
“I don’t see this as work," Gauci said. "This is fun. Who else is going to do it?”