Lookouts Coaches Getting Used to Crunching Numbers in Baseball Analytics

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Chattanooga-(WDEF-TV) Stats have always been a huge part of baseball, but now coaches and general managers are turning into accountants with the way they study the numbers.
It has gone way beyond homers and ERA’s to launch angles and spin rates. Lookouts manager Pat Kelly and pitching coach Danny Darwin try to add up all the new numbers.

Take me out to the ballgame, and crunch me some numbers. Baseball is now immersed in analytics.
Said Darwin:”We have an analytical department in Cincinnati. We have a kid here that does a lot of our stuff for us. They give us the numbers. They send us reports on other teams on what they are doing. It’s crazy, but it’s a lot of fun. Like I said, I’m learning, but I’m enjoy it. I have a thing every night in the dugout and PK (Pat Kelly) does too. Certain areas of the field where guys are. What their percentage is to hitting it to the right side of short stop or the left side of short stop. Right side of first base or whatever.”
Said Kelly:”I don’t know that it’s overwhelming. It’s very informative. It’s great information. I think part of our job as coaches is kind of to decipher it a little bit. Dummy it down to a point.”
So what stats appeal to pitching coach Danny Darwin?
Said Darwin:”We have a machine called the rapsodo, and we have the Track Man, so we track all of these kids pitches. Spin rates. High spin rates. Low spin rates. Lateral movement. Horizontal movement. We’ve got it all.”
If only you could run that data on a tablet in the dugout during a game.
Said Kelly:”You can have a tablet that’s for video. You can’t use it for anything else. That’s what happens. A relief pitcher comes in the game. Everybody runs over. Grabs a tablet. Punches that guy’s name in, and it shows him out of the stretch. Out of the wind-up. Shows all of his pitches.”
But there are times when your gut beats the numbers.
Darwin:”I’ve been in this game a long time. I mean I can tell if a guy is getting tired and stuff like that.”
Kelly:”I mean I love numbers. I love information, so anything that can give us an edge is worth it.”

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.