A local startup hopes to cultivate the next Wade Davis or Yordano Ventura with the help of its pitching technology.
In early 2015, Kansas City-based Precise Play launched its digital pitch analyzer, which the company is selling to baseball academies, schools and private leagues.
Precise Play founder Victor Villarreal said that his machine has been a hit with young players — ages eight to 18 — who hope to improve their pitching skills.
“We can’t get kids off these machines,” Villarreal said. “I took it to a maker’s fair, and the kids were throwing into it and having a blast. Finally, their parents had to tell them that there were other people in line. … You can’t keep them off this thing.”
The six-foot, 300-pound machine uses laser light to track and locate a pitch. A digital display quickly reports back to a pitcher his speed, whether the throw was a strike or ball and its general location.
Painted a Royal blue, the Wi-Fi-enabled pitch analyzer also produces printable performance reports for pitchers to see their pattern. Soon the machine will send the report to a mobile app that’s now in development, which will allow for pitchers to create an online profile of their skills and progress.
“We developed a light curtain with this machine,” Villarreal said. “It has a triple layer light curtain and there are laser arrays that are disrupted by a passing ball and we can collect the data as it passes. We can detect its position on an x and y (axis) and a delta and z axis with a speed component to very accurately determine the speed of the ball.”
Villarreal is selling the laser light version of his product for $4,400 and a radar-based machine for $1,500.
An electrical engineer by training, Villarreal said he plans to capture data from the machines in hopes to create additional revenue opportunities for Precise Play. Eventually, Villarreal said he sees the potential for college scouts and recruiters to pay a subscription to learn more about prospects.
Founded in 2012, Precise Play now has eight people on staff.
Here’s a brief demonstration of the machine from Villarreal: