The Pirates are monitoring players’ vital signs during games

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And calorie consumption and stuff like that. All via some cutting edge athletic technology. Or at least cutting edge for baseball. From Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune:

Prior to and during games this exhibition season, some Pirates are wearing Zephyr workload monitoring devices. Under select players’ jerseys is a tight-fitting, compression shirt, which has a black, circular, detachable electronic device — about the size of a quarter — attached near the center of the chest. The device collects data from a sensor that records players’ heartbeats and energy consumption. The device’s most noticeable features are blinking green and red lights.

Russell Martin talks about how he has used it to monitor how many calories he burns during games. It also measures heart rate. Neal Huntington speculates that there are other things it could tell the Pirates if they decide to go wider-scale with their use. For now it’s just an experiment.

I wonder if it could potentially measure telltale signs of fatigue. That could be pretty useful for pitchers, couldn’t it?

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.