It seems as though the Pittsburgh Pirates pride themselves on being innovators of new technologies and how to utilize them to make the team overall better. At first, we heard about the team employing a psychologist to help with the grind of 162 games and the highs and lows that come with it. We have heard about the Pirates unusual military training methods that some felt were insane and almost dangerous. We have seen the Pirates using defensive shifts in the infield to help take away would-be hits in normal defenses. Now the Pirates are again using technology to help keep track of calories burned, food intake and the ability to keep players in prime shape for the season grind.
Upon hearing about this new technology and that players are wearing a small device on their chests under the uniforms, I was very confused how this could be helpful. Reading further into the technology and the players talking about how they were surprised on how many calories they burn during a game and how much intake they will need to keep them normal, it really makes a lot of sense. The Pirates may be a small market, low-revenue team, however they do put a lot of time, money and efforts into developing new ideas to keep them competitive.
The Pirates are a team who uses advanced statistics to determine which players can succeed and how they could develop when first seen. They have been a huge player in developing international players and we are starting to see the signs of guys who will be making impacts on the team. Starling Marte being one of the first, coming along with Gregory Polanco to Alen Hanson down to guys like Harold Ramirez and Luis Heredia.
Sometimes, scouts go on “gut feelings” about a player who can be projectable with their height, potential for weight and muscle gain, increased speed and velocity as well as some raw talent. When the team signs these young players, there is a very long road ahead of training and development which takes resources and money. The usage of new technologies such as the device being worn by Catcher Russell Martin, he has been quoted as saying, “I never realized how much energy I burn from a 9 inning game to a 14 inning game.”
While there are still baseball instincts, calculated instruction and old school methods being used, it’s the willingness to be a leader of using new technology to gain a small edge over all the other teams that makes the Pittsburgh Pirates a pioneer in Major League Baseball.