Essential Topics in Baseball: From Performance Analysis to Injury Prevention


Erik Welch (Editor)

Series: Sports and Athletics Preparation, Performance, and Psychology
BISAC: SPO003000

Baseball is a game of tabulation and tracking. While baseball has a long and storied history of analyzing performance, it was not until recent history that analytical approaches have been applied to the medical and physical aspects of baseball. In today’s game, at every level, baseball players are tracked for factors beyond wins and losses, to help maintain player health, or in an attempt to improve performance. Essential Topics in Baseball: From Performance Analysis to Injury Prevention explores the future of baseball monitoring in the context of being able to handle, interpret, and extrapolate predictions from the masses of data being collected.

In baseball, the throwing motion consists of a sequence of movements from the lower limbs to the upper limbs through the trunk. Failures in the sequence of movements can place an excess load on the upper arm and causes various disorders, the main causes being a high number of throws and inadequate throwing form. Too many throws will cause medial collateral ligament injury of the elbow and rotator cuff tear and periarthritis of the shoulder.

As such, the authors aim to determine whether upper extremity strength is predictive of injury, how upper extremity strength can be reliably and practically tested in the clinic, and whether or not strengthening programs will have an effect on upper extremity strength ratios, as well as compare and contrast current throwing programs found in the literature.

Additionally, ten right-handed college baseball batters participated in an experiment. They swung a bat towards five imaginary impact locations of different heights and lateral positions in the strike zone. They also hit a ball mounted on a tee stand placed in the strike zone which corresponded to the same five locations. The process was repeated seven times for each location, all of which were randomly assigned. Movements of the bat and ball were captured by an optical motion capture system at 250 Hz and 3-dimensional coordinates of the bat and ball were calculated.

The freely available Statcast Trackman data provides continuous location coordinates for individual pitches using Doppler radar. This detailed spatial information can be employed to visualize a batter’s ability across regions in and around the strike zone. As such, the authors summarize classical geostatistical methodology and show how it can be applied to real data.

In another study, the authors explore hitting a stable ball mounted on a tee stand, rather than hitting a flying ball, to focus on the importance of vision in executing a batter’s prepared or preplanned hitting movement for an impact location. This is achieved by eliminating the necessity of processing visual information regarding the ball’s flight to predict the time and location of the pitch’s arrival and modulate the movement with respect to the flight of the pitch.

The closing chapter examines the long history of tobacco use in baseball that dates back to the 19th century and the creation of the sport. Athletes and coaches initially used spit tobacco as a way to keep their mouths moist during dusty games and to alter the baseball to improve grip and break.
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Baseball Player Monitoring: From Injury to Performance
(Garrett S. Bullock, DPT, Jenna Gourlay, DPT, and Robert J. Butler, DPT, PhD, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Research Versus Arthritis, University of Oxford, UK, and others)

Chapter 2. Throwing Kinematics to Achieve High Performance and Prevent Injury
(Toshiaki Takahashi, MD, PhD, Professor of Department of Sports and Health Science, Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation, Ehime University, Ehime, Japan)

Chapter 3. The Role of Upper Extremity Strength and Throwing Programs on Injury Prevention in Baseball Players: A Literature Review
(Jacob W. Nigolian, DPT, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Lemieux Sports Complex, Center for Rehab Services, Pittsburgh, PA, US, and others)

Chapter 4. Batter’s Mental Representation of the Strike Zone: An Examination of Practice Bat Swinging and Its Deviation from the Real Impact with the Ball
(Hiromu Katsumata, Fukutaro Kuroda and Fumiya Yamakuchi, Department of Sports and Health Science, Daito-Bunka University, Tokyo, Japan)

Chapter 5. Using Geostatistical Techniques to Improve Heat Maps of Batting Ability
(Dana Sylvan and Jared Cross, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, US)

Chapter 6. Effect of Visual Occlusion on the Accuracy of Batting a Stationary Ball
(Hiromu Katsumata, Taketomo Hagiwara and Kento Nebashi, Department of Sports and Health Science, Daito-Bunka University, Tokyo, Japan)

Chapter 7. Spit Tobacco Use in Baseball
(Ted Eaves, EdD, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, US)


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