Deep Dive on DK at the Highest Levels of Amateur Baseball

Frank Cinicola
August 27, 2021

Diamond Kinetics technology is becoming a staple at all levels in baseball and softball with the highest levels of amateur baseball being no exception. This summer, the Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker bat sensor was used extensively to measure swings in-practice and in-game for the both USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline League and Appalachian League. All summer long, DK was measuring the metrics of some of the best high school and college players in the country.

USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline League

The USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline League, taking place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, is the main identification event for the 2021 18U National Team. The league was composed of four teams made up of the top 96 high school players in the nation. The teams were led by an esteemed group of coaches, including former major league players like Michael Cuddyer, Jack Wilson, Billy Butler, Brad Penny, and Luke Gregerson, among others.

The metrics the Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker measured in the league were invaluable to the coaches that were helping develop and scouts that were evaluating the players. Jim Koerner, the USA Baseball Director of Player Development and PDP League Field Coordinator had great things to say about the Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker. “I think Diamond Kinetics is the premier bat sensor on the market. There are features with Diamond Kinetics, like the swing fingerprint, that allow you to do things that the other sensors don’t have.”

Coaches used the information given to them from the Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker to help the hitters improve in ways that would not be possible without it. The combination of the metrics and the eyes of seasoned baseball coaches were extremely helpful to the players in the PDP league. Koerner said, “It’s one thing to take a coach’s word on ‘Hey, this is what I’m seeing,’ but to show the hitter in real time what they are doing with their swing is so valuable that it is hard to put into words.” Said Russell Hartford, the Senior Director of Technology at USA Baseball, “Diamond Kinetics is a huge benefit to our player development efforts. We are able to deliver actionable, quantifiable data back to the athletes to give them more context for their performance. Sometimes to change what they do, but to really give them new insights into their performance. Our coaches have been in baseball for decades and Diamond Kinetics helps us give the athletes what our coaches already know in a new context.”

James Cooper, the head coach at Grambling State University and coach in the Prospect Development Pipeline League, found that Diamond Kinetics helped him become a better coach and communicate with the players more effectively. “I can help correct the kid when I see a flaw mechanically and the data helps me see where a tweak here or there can help take him to the next level,” Cooper said. “Not only does technology like Diamond Kinetics make the players better, but it makes us as coaches better, too. It helps us confirm the things in a swing we’re seeing and makes it easy to point out those adjustments to the players. Getting the instant data can lead to an instant fix in the swing when we are using Diamond Kinetics.” It was clear that Diamond Kinetics helped make the best high school players and coaches in the country even better at the USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline League.

Appalachian League

The historic Appalachian League is a premier collegiate wood bat league that is part of the Major League Baseball and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline. The league was made up of 320 of the best college underclassmen players in the country comprising 10 teams that played a 54 game schedule. Every team in the league outfitted every one of their hitters with a Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker to measure the swing they took in batting practice and in-game, all summer long. The data was used by coaches to aid in player development and by scouts for evaluation.

Often, players will have slight differences in their practice and game swings. For example, some players will swing faster in BP when they don’t have to worry about swinging and missing, but will swing more defensively in-game against better pitching. Every player’s goal should be to take their best practice swings with them into the games.

Diamond Kinetics Director of Strategic Partnerships J.D. Vidal spoke on the benefits of using the SwingTracker both in practice and in-game, “The players have the opportunity to see, from practice into the game, consistency in their swings and if they are putting themselves in the best position to do damage with every swing. The SwingTracker allows you to see what your best swing in practice is and see if it is translating into the game. Confidence grows when players see that swing carry over into on-field success in games.”

The players used the bat sensor technology DK provides to improve their performance in the Appalachian League this summer – but more importantly – they are able to carry that newfound knowledge about their swing back to their respective colleges to improve their hitting this upcoming season. Vidal went on to say, “we approached Appy League with a motto of ‘measure, train, improve, repeat,’ and that is going to help players grow.”