Sep 22, 2016Predicting Pitcher Injury
With baseball pitching injuries on the rise, one company, Digital Video Predictive Pitching Analysis, seeks to offer a way to predict whether pitchers will be injured. According to Vocativ, Chuck Colby and Matt Keough, as part of their work for the company, came up with an algorithm that makes use of video-processing software to observe pitchers’ technique. With the data, the process reveals how pitchers will be injured in the future.
“Once I can prove to these guys that this thing works,” Colby said, “… I can work proactively with their pitching coaches and their pitching staff and say, ‘Hey, by the way, here’s this guy: Everything’s fine, but this one pitch is kinda showing a red flag in the computer. Maybe you can give him a different pitch or modify the way he delivers it, we can look at it again, see if that changes the metrics, and maybe presents less of a risk.’ That’s where the real value of this thing shows up, not just ‘OK, this guy’s going to blow.’ But it’s harder to get there.”
Glenn Fleisig, the research director of the American Sports Medicine Institute, looked at DVPPA’s site, and was unconvinced that Colby and Keough’s findings were well-founded.
“They may have discovered the Holy Grail, but I am leery based upon the dearth of information on their website,” Fleisig wrote in an email. “They present science from others showing that Tommy John injuries are a growing problem, but no science showing their methods work. They also don’t say who they are, what their background and credentials are, or anything substantive about their methods.”
Colby said that he struggles with convincing baseball teams to pay for his services, which cost $30,000 per consultation, but said he believes that the money they would save would justify the expense.
“I understand this is going to be an expense you didn’t count on,” Colby said. “All I’m saying is, give me an opportunity to show you this works, and it’s my belief that, once you do, you’ll find the money for this. I still haven’t gotten any traction yet. So, I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.”