HawkDashboard: BlastTrax Reports
My previous HawkDashboard article covered the pages for post-action pitchers reports, including Trackman reports for post-game analysis and Rapsodo reports for post-bullpen feedback. Check out that article here, if you haven’t already.
In this article I will share the landscape of HawkDashboard’s BlastTrax reports that our hitters receive on a weekly basis. After the recent shift from daily team practice to individual workouts, there is different technology that is used more frequently — HitTrax and Blast Motion.
Because our players wear their bat sensors while taking swings in the HitTrax cage, we’ve been able to merge HitTrax batted ball events with Blast Motion swing metrics. This data that circulates in the Iowa Baseball analytics department is creatively named the BlastTrax database. While there are not any data tables or visualizations in this weekly BlastTrax report for the hitters, this merged data set opens the door for several ground-breaking projects to develop our athletes.
Without further ado, here is a BlastTrax report from the first week and a half of individual workouts. This is a visualization-heavy report to digest, with a strong focus on exit velocity and launch angle in the first page.
The first page of the report starts off with a performance summary table from the selected time frame. This information provides the player with simple summary statistics of their batted ball events in the HitTrax cage.
The five visualizations below the table provide a further look into the data by exploring the point of contact for each batted ball, average exit velocity in each zone, radial showing launch angles for all batted balls over 95 mph exit velocity, and two spray charts to show the hit location and combination of average exit velocity and average launch angle by field direction.
The second page of the BlastTrax report shows the trend of six of the nine Blast Motion metrics. These six were chosen as the focus metrics for this Fall’s individual workouts, and certainly does not belittle the importance of the three that are left out (Bat Speed, Connection At Impact, and Peak Hand Speed).
The trend lines are connected at the average value of each individual date, with the error bars representing one standard deviation above and below the mean. Additionally, the dotted green lines illustrate an ideal range for each metric. Some players may consistently see themselves outside of these ranges, but that certainly doesn’t spell bad news. Batters have different styles of hitting and can achieve positive outcomes in different ways. Nevertheless, these selected ideal ranges often lead to positive results.
Similar to the post-action pitcher reports you learned about in my previous article, these BlastTrax reports allow our hitters to view their development over time. This week was the first time these reports were introduced, which allows plenty of room for growth and improvements.
In the near future, these reports will see the addition of our analytics department’s recently completed projects. A group of our analysts worked hard to develop a system to quantify swing decisions, and our team is also researching how to measure timing and adjustability in hitters. The implementation of these research projects open the door to new ways for our coaches and players to develop and improve.