Brian Bannister, Red Sox Pitching Guru

CaptainLaddie

dj paul pfieffer
SoSH Member
Sep 6, 2004
26,597
the district
(Sorry if I missed a thread on this already.)

SI has an excerpt from Ben Lindburgh and Travis Sawchik's new book "THE MVP MACHINE", and damn, it's a really cool read about Bannister.

https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/06/07/boston-red-sox-brian-bannister-mvp-machine

In his current role, Bannister says, “99 percent of the work I do is standing out in the outfield during batting practice or during a bullpen session, holding my phone and showing it to a pitcher, showing him what the data says and then telling him why I think he should make an adjustment and backing it up on the spot.” Before Bannister, no one on the Red Sox staff needed to deploy data that way. Boston’s old internal information repository dated back to before the iPhone-iPad era, and it wouldn’t work on mobile devices. After joining the Red Sox, Bannister learned SQL (Structured Query Language)—a programming language that’s become a prerequisite for front-office work—to retrieve information from the database more quickly, but the queries he created weren’t powerful enough for his purposes.

Enter a new application called PEDRO (pitching, evaluation, development, research, and optimization), a nod to Red Sox legend and onetime Bannister teammate Pedro Martínez. PEDRO, which was built by R&D analyst Spencer Bingol, a former baseball blogger hired by Bannister, functions as a “sandbox of ideas on the player-development and scouting side.” It also enables Bannister to do with one click what once would have taken him hours or days, applying his custom pitcher evaluations on a “mass scale” and allowing him to exchange computer time for face time with players.
Fascinating piece, and makes me want to pick the book up.
 

threecy

Cosbologist
SoSH Member
Sep 1, 2006
1,525
Tamworth, NH
Wow, that's amazing how simplistic their internal applications sound. It wouldn't be the only big business that throws around big bucks at other things, while not investing anywhere near proportionally in internal data development.

I can only imagine what the Red Sox could do if they took a few million a year and developed their own internal programming team and system. With all of the technology that exists, one would think they have the ability to develop baseline video imagery on every player performing every standard move (e.g. a particular pitch or swinging through a particular zone) and instantly programmatically identify any deviation (such as armslot change, etc.). Instead, they have on-field coaching talent writing SQL.
 
Jul 5, 2018
126
When did data replace talent and reps? Bannister said:

"I believe coaching baseball players is the same thing,” Bannister says. “Half of it’s art, it’s experience, it’s creativity, and then half of it is just knowing the pure science and knowing the data you’re working with and being able to manipulate it in the direction that will benefit the player the most.”

In the article he doesn't explain what this data is. Zeinke is given as an example, but mixing curveballs, fastballs and trying to get batters to chase sliders is a strategy that has been used by power pitchers for decades. Pedro had the most dominating stretch In the history of the game and he did it without manipulating data to his advantage.
 

shaggydog2000

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 5, 2007
5,537
When did data replace talent and reps? Bannister said:

"I believe coaching baseball players is the same thing,” Bannister says. “Half of it’s art, it’s experience, it’s creativity, and then half of it is just knowing the pure science and knowing the data you’re working with and being able to manipulate it in the direction that will benefit the player the most.”

In the article he doesn't explain what this data is. Zeinke is given as an example, but mixing curveballs, fastballs and trying to get batters to chase sliders is a strategy that has been used by power pitchers for decades. Pedro had the most dominating stretch In the history of the game and he did it without manipulating data to his advantage.
Never. It compliments them. If you don't know how, you've missed the last two decades of baseball.