2019 SABR Analytics: Listen to highlights from the Game Within a Game panel

The Game Within a Game panel at the 2019 SABR Analytics Conference, presented by MLB and KinaTrax, focused on how data-driven decisions are impacted by the ability to adapt.

The panel on March 10, 2019, included Emilee Fragapane, Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Operations Coordinator; Dr. Lee Picariello, owner and operator of Mindful Athlete Training; and Julian Volyn, Co-Founder and Chief of Product for TrinityVR. The moderator was Rob Neyer, author and SABRcast host.

Here are some highlights:


  • Volyn: “We’re definitely trying to level the playing field. We’re taking advantage of all the data that’s already been collected via PITCHf/x and Trackman and we are able to visualize that data within our simulation. So, we’re able to model those pitches accurately down to the 95th percentile of accuracy on some of these pitches. You’re able to see the accurate pitch within the simulation as a batter. You’re able to prepare against different pitch types and different pitchers and see those pitches one to one with the not only trajectory and trajectory cues, but also the pitcher phenotype. You’re able to actually see the release. You’re able to see the wind up and the delivery. So, these are tools now that give perceptual cognitive skills back to the batter to train and do game prep.”


  • Fragapane: “I think this has been a huge, huge focus for us and the type of information that we have to the point again of trying to develop guys and actually make it interesting. I think once we identify pieces of information or types of technology that we think are interesting and have potential to be an applied application for guys, I think that it’s really important for us to try to direct the communication and the delivery to the individual player or the individual coach. Obviously, the building relationships with guys to know how they think, what they care about, what they’re interested in is one basis. Presenting the same information as a table to one coach and a line plot to another coach, little things like that help. I think moreover though, we’re just measuring things that coaches already look at… How do you turn the dialog away from ‘Hey, this is data and you should be interested’ and more towards ‘You’re already looking at this. We can make it more precise and we can make your job easier. We can make the player’s job easier,’ and kind of just change that dialog into something that’s less threatening and something that is more accessible already instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.”


  • Picariello: “Technology, I think, is going to allow the mental skills, the psychology to assist with process of change… We as human beings go through resistance to change because it’s against the norm. Clinically, that’s what we call stasis. Stasis gets disrupted. When something new is brought into our world, it breeds unfamiliarity. It leads to, at times, levels of insecurity and even resistance and it drives us back to the norm… Our biggest challenge in mental skills as it relates to the future of baseball and other professional sports is to continue to assist in the development of these athletes that the natural byproduct of change is a normal one, but to be more uncomfortable in time is the real key because the more you expose yourself to a level of discomfort, then that becomes more of the norm.”

For more coverage of the 2019 SABR Analytics Conference, visit SABR.org/analytics.

Originally published: March 19, 2019. Last Updated: July 27, 2020.