Costa: As hitters keep whiffing, teams are asking: Can you rewire a batter’s brain?

From Brian Costa at the Wall Street Journal on September 19, 2014:

Take a peek inside the frazzled mind of a major-league hitter these days. It isn’t a pretty sight.

Pitchers are throwing harder than ever. Batters are striking out more often than ever. And their judgment is getting shakier: Hitters are chasing more pitches outside the strike zone.

It is enough to make some teams wonder: What if we could just rewire hitters’ brains to react to pitches better? As it turns out, at least three major-league teams are engaged in a covert science experiment to find out.

Several years ago, the Boston Red Sox began working with a Massachusetts neuroscience company called NeuroScouting. The objective was to develop software that could improve hitters’ ability to recognize pitch types and decide, with greater speed and accuracy, whether they should swing. The result was a series of no-frills videogames that became a required part of hitters’ pregame routines in the minor leagues.

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Originally published: September 22, 2014. Last Updated: September 22, 2014.