This summer the San Diego League made its debut as a summer baseball league aimed to help collegiate baseball players develop the skills to reach the next level. Early on in the planning process, CEO John Dolak knew technology would be at the center of the league’s player development mission. Recently, we caught up with John to see what he had to say about the mission behind the San Diego League:
“The San Diego League is a fundamental developmental league. We understand the importance of analytics and how important it is in the baseball arena, especially now in college athletics.
I try to oversee the entire league and the development of the players, and make sure we have the infrastructure that supports the colleges to develop and get the most out of their players, whether they’re from a junior college, D1, D2 or D3 program.
When we first started the league, one of the first things we wanted to do is become a world-class organization. Summer collegiate baseball, having played it and worked with a lot of people that have played in a summer collegiate baseball throughout the country, the assessments that they get at the end of the summer are ambiguous. We wanted to take all the guesswork out.
We reached out to Blast knowing how important their analytics were with Major League Baseball and college athletics. Baseball has moved into an analytical state—you have no more speculation on why players are better than others. You can look at data and say, “Okay, I understand that this player has better data.” You wouldn’t make a business decision based off of speculation. You have to know the data and the numbers before you make business decisions.
Having the coaches understand analytics on an everyday basis was important to us. The coaches make sure they know what each player is doing positively, but maybe more importantly, negatively, and how to improve those analytics to make each of them a better baseball player.
When we started talking with Blast, we realized a huge opportunity was in game data. We realized how important data is because of the difference between cage work and tee work and scrimmages versus in game. Understanding in-game data was not only huge for us as a league, but also for the players and their colleges as they go forward.
If you’re not going to get ahead of the curve, you’re going to get behind the curve with analytics. What we asked was why not start at the top and embrace where the technology is and then stay ahead of the curve? We felt the in-game data was probably the most valuable part of this summer league.
When the players finish each summer, they have analytical reports from the time we test them before the season starts, in the middle of season and at the end of the season. We’re providing numbers, data and analytics so that those coaches understand where they’ve improved, where they’ve gained or where they haven’t, and what they need to do when they go back to their college programs. We want to turn over a better player to each of the college programs every fall.”
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