This offseason, Craig Breslow is searching for an edge. The 36-year-old left-handed pitcher won the World Series with the Red Sox in 2013, but was put on the disabled list after straining his throwing shoulder the following March and never seemed to fully recover. His ERA jumped from 1.81 in 2013 to 5.96 the following year. Last season he was signed as a free agent and then released by both the Marlins and the Rangers. “I hadn’t been a successful pitcher for three years,” he says.
To attempt to resurrect his decade-long career in the major league, Breslow is turning to a pitch-tracking camera made by Rapsodo. The Yale-educated molecular biophysics and biochemistry major is hoping he can reverse engineer the best pitches in baseball by looking back at other players’ PITCHf/x and TrackMan data. Then by getting real-time feedback on each throw’s velocity, spin, and trajectory through Rapsodo, he plans to tune up his own throws.
“We all just watched [Cleveland left handed relief pitcher] Andrew Miller dominate the post season with his devastating slider,” Breslow says. “There are a number of factors that go into his ability to make the ball do what it does. He’s 6’8”, he’s got incredibly long levers. He’s got a great ability to spin a ball. At 5’11” and probably a wingspan two feet shorter, I may never be able to impart the same spin rate on a baseball as he can, but I should be able to spin it in the same direction, which will give me the same shape of the breaking ball.”