Pitching Analytics with Nate Walker
A significant softball ptiching analytics article was recenently in FloSoftball. We encourage all pitchers and pitching coaches at every level to read it. Nate Walker, a former MLB analytics guru, published his metrics for softball. They are remarkable.
As many of you know, Nate and his company Diamond Solutions joined forces with OnDeck Softball last year. About a year and a half ago, Nate and Derek sat down in San Diego where he explained his background, theories, and plans. It didn’t take a genius to understand that Nate could do a deep dive into pitching unlike anything else we have seen. Add to that his pedigree in MLB. Top it off with Nate just being a really good guy. And we jumped at the chance to partner.
We did a test case in Las Vegas just to get our feet wet. But the real work started in 2019 at the Huntington Beach Jamboree and Rosetta Canyon Jamboree and in two days had data on 58 pitchers. Nate then came to our Colorado Jamborees, Chicago Jamboree, SoCal and NorCal OTEs, and the Midwest Elite Camp. In between those, he was collecting data at college camps, bouncing around SoCal testing both softball and baseball pitchers, and flying to the Dominican for MLB prospects. Needless to say, the guy works hard.
Throughout this journey, we have learned a ton. Nate’s metrics have changed our views on scouting pitchers. Questions arise while scouting pitchers. Does she have true spin? Can she really make her rise or her screw float? Does she have the potential to blend a series of pitches together that will result in misses at the college level?
Much like our evolution with ODM®, before you have them, you think you know something. Once you have access to this data, you realize that you change the way you look at a player. Early in our ODM® history a cable went wonky and we had to test sprint times by hand. It only took a runner or two to understand testing with a stop watch doesn’t really work. It gets you in the ball park, I guess. But it is just humanly impossible to get good times by hand.
As you begin to collect data, it is easy to begin to see trends. D1 middle infielders and centerfielders run the shuttle 4.85 or faster. ODM® changed the landscape of softball evaluation and recruiting. These pitching metrics are going to do the same. In a few short years, Nate’s numbers will be accepted and valued by everyone in the softball pitching landscape.
So what does this mean for softball pitchers, parents, and coaches? Well for pitchers and their parents it is imperative that you get your Rapsodo numbers. Start working with those numbers, just like you should be working with your ODM® numbers, to get better. Figure out how to make those numbers work for you. If you are a pitching coach, I would suggest that you get familiar with Nate. Just yesterday one of the SECs best pitching coaches told me that Nate’s deep dive into the Rapsodo numbers is a remarkable step forward for pitching. This coach laughed and was impressed by the depth and insight Nate can provide.
So the bottom line is jump on the Diamond Solutions train soon. We made that jump almost two years ago and it was a no-brainer. It changed the way we look at pitching, and it allowed us to refine what we do.
For more information on Diamond Solutions and how it can help you, email Nate at email@example.com