Trackman Traits - Pitching: 2023 LHP Ian Kaiser (Montville)


Zach Guth
Advanced Scout

 

Welcome back to Trackman Traits. In this piece we will be dissecting the numbers the Trackman produces and the effect they can have on a pitcher's approach. Below there will be definitions of each category that we believe to be the most important for a young arm to keep in mind as well as breaking down an arm and giving suggestions on how they can improve their game. Keep in mind, in some categories it is better to be further away from average even if the numbers are wavering on below average. 

FASTBALL VELOCITY

Fastball velocity doesn't go much deeper than just looking at the numbers and comparing them to the graphic below! Fastball velocity complements just about all of the other metrics that are measured. If you throw hard, it makes all your other pitches/metrics even better.

FASTBALL SPIN RATE

Spin rate is a measurement that if you are below average or above average, you can pitch with more room for error. On the other hand, if you are average you should try to throw in the bottom half of the zone with exceptional command. High spin fastballs profile as one that is frequently described as having "late life". Low spin fastballs tend to profile as a fastball that has heavy feel to it. Pitch movement is still dependent on spin direction of the pitch but Trackman does not have that metric displayed on profiles. 


BAUER UNITS

Bauer Units are an easier way of determining how useful the spin numbers are compared to the velocity. We can calculate this metric by taking average spin rate and dividing it by average velocity. Bauer Units are useful because we can have a case of two pitchers with the same spin numbers, ex. 2200 RPM, but one pitcher throws 90 MPH and the other throws 83 MPH. The pitcher throwing 90 MPH with 2200 spin is not as impressive as the pitcher throwing 83 MPH with the same spin. Typically, we would tell the harder throwing pitcher to throw up in the zone purely off his velocity and his high spin, but because his Bauer Units would equate to around 24 that would be only 1 unit off of average (23), therefore he would want to hammer the bottom of the zone. On the other side, the pitcher throwing 83 MPH has a Bauer Unit measurement of 26 which is incredibly impressive. This would allow him to throw up in the zone even though his velocity is not blow away type numbers because he produces above average spin with that slated velocity. 

FASTBALL INDUCED VERTICAL BREAK

As far as deception and importance goes, fast induced vertical break (IVB) may be the most important. Induced vertical break is not what is sounds. IVB simply means the pitch is "breaking" upward from the average level a pitch falls from release to home plate. This is a stat that you want to stay away from being average at. Fortunately, this can be tweaked slightly depending on release height. To put it simply, the higher number =  more "rise" the pitch has compared to average. Lower number = more depth the pitch has to it. 

VERTICAL APPROACH ANGLE

Vertical Approach Angle (VAA) is essentially how steep or shallow the ball is entering the strike zone. The average entry into the zone is around -5.5 degrees for the Division 1 college level. Anything below or above that number is considered an outlier and would be ideal because it is not what the hitter is used to seeing. A VAA of -4.5 degrees would be considered a shallow entry, this, with some other variables mixed in (IVB, velocity, release height), allow for success up in the zone due to the "ride" or even sometimes "rising" effect. A VAA of -6 degrees would be considered a steep entry. This is the type of ball that has a lot of success in the bottom of the zone (including the same variables mentioned previously) because it feels like the pitcher is throwing it off Mt Everest. With the perfect combination of low IVB and high release it could be a very steep entry that would be hard to hit. 

 

Ian Kaiser

Class of 2023 / LHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2023
  • Primary Position: LHP
    Secondary Position: OF
  • High School: Montville
    State: NJ
  • Summer Team: Diamond Jacks Supers 16u
  • Height: 5-10
    Weight: 165lbs
  • Bat/Throw: L/L

Scouting Report

2/16/20

 

5-foot-9, 155-pound lean frame. In the box, the left-handed hitter had a max exit velocity of 80 mph. Began in an athletic, crouched stance, had a wrapping load and used a short stride before his swing. Has an uphill swing plane and has high finish. Was able to find some barrels in his round. In the outfield, his best throw of the day was clocked at 83 mph; has a clean exchange and sure hands. Had a short arm action with a ¾ slot. He clocked a 60 time of 7.54 at the event. On the mound, he showed quick arm speed, had an over-the-top angle and a short arm action. Has an athletic balance point and in line shoulders. Has an athletic finish and lands square. Threw his fastball 77-79 mph with a max of 79 mph; showed command in the zone. Showed a 12/6 curveball (64-68). His changeup (68-70) has fading action.

 


Videos

(2/15/21)


 


Fastball Breakdown

Velocity: Kaiser showcases some elite velo from the left side. As we all know in the baseball world, being left handed set you apart from the pack. What sets you even further apart is being a hard throwing left hander. Holding 86-88 MPH as a sophomore in high school puts Kaiser in a good spot to see success this year and in the coming years when he begins to add to his frame. A max of 88 MPH puts Kaiser in the top 10% among high school arms. 

Spin Rate: Kaiser doesn't possess the most eye popping SR numbers, coming in at 1990 RPM on average puts him around the top 50%. With spin numbers at average, you typically do not induce crazy movement due to the ball not spinning any more than normal. What you can do to induce some wild movement with average spin is have a clean spin efficiency. If you are making the most of your spin numbers, this could lead to a quality movement profile.  

Bauer Units: As we have discussed Bauer Units in the past, we know that this measurement is an easy way to determine how much spin a guy should have for their given velocity. Kaiser floats just around average in Bauer Units so his spin is like we assumed in the last segment. 

Induced Vertical Break: Kaiser has the ability to tap into some exceptional IVB numbers with a max of 21.9 inches. On the average of 18.5 inches it comes in just where we would expect the fastball to come in with the spin and velocity combination. This just means that Kaiser most likely will not see a heap of success in the top half of the zone. What he does have going for him though is his horizontal movement numbers. On the average, he comes in at 5.9 inches of arm side run. This is not going to be some running heater that you see moving away from a RHH or anything like that. It will be a straight fastball with minimal movement to the arm side. Based on what we know about movement numbers, it is better to be further from average no matter what side it's on. At 5.9 inches, he comes in between the top 50-75%. A straight fastball with the ability to have increased "rise" number in the future is something that could be a swing/miss pitch in the future. For now, Kaiser will see the most success in the bottom part of the zone. He could tinker with tilt and finger pressure on the fastball to induce different IVB/HM numbers. Kaiser is going to be a power arm in the coming years with a heater that possesses a possibly elite movement profile. 


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