DVS Arrives In Detroit

Yesterday, Will and I arrived in Utica, a city north of Detroit, to begin our season-long study of the United Shore Professional Baseball League. The USPBL is a new independent professional baseball league founded by General Sports and Entertainment and is the product of a ten-year effort by General Sports and Entertainment to bring professional baseball to Metro Detroit.

Main entrance to Jimmy John's Field

Main entrance to Jimmy John's Field

The USPBL will begin its inaugural season May 31st at Jimmy John's Field in downtown Utica. The league consists of three initial teams, made up top level collegiate baseball players, who will compete in a full 75 game schedule. Unlike most professional leagues, the USPBL has structured their games so the majority of games played will be from Thursday to Sunday, reserving Monday through Wednesday for practice and skill development.

One of the primary goals of the USPBL is to serve as a "finishing" school for players who need additional development before being signed by an MLB Organization. The league will facilitate a system of player development that blends major league experience with the latest research in analytics and strength and conditioning. 

Over the last five months, I was in frequent conversations with Brian Berryman, executive director of baseball operations, to create a throwing program unique to the structure and goals of the USPBL. Berryman wanted a program that could push a player to their performance potential but took into account the health and functionality of the throwing arm. 

Will and I began to author the program with the idea of incorporating our DVS Model into a season-long format. We started by accounting for a player's individual characteristics (mechanics, height, weight, velocity, ROM) and prescribing formidable throwing distances that suit their position specific needs. We then decided to create a system of checks and balances whereby a player or coach can implement the most efficient throwing schedule based on their daily soreness/recovery.

Eventually, we designed a throwing program that consists of two distinct phases; training phases and performance phases. Training Phases are designed for players to enhance and develop their skills at less than 100% intensity, and Performance Phases are designed for players to test their position specific throw at 100% intensity.  

One of the biggest benefits of The USPBL Throwing Program is that it will teach players always to understand when, how much, how far, and at what intensity to throw during the season. 

We are very thankful for the USPBL for giving us the opportunity to work with and follow their players over the course of the 2016 season. This summer, we hope to draw a variety of correlations between a pitcher's DVS Score and their recovery times, pitch counts, ROM patterns, and other performance variables.

Over the last few years, Will and I have observed strong correlations between a pitcher's DVS Score and their shoulder ROM Patterns. As higher scores correlate with better timing, more efficient energy transfer, and thus less stress on the arm, it's not surprising that player's with higher DVS Scores exhibit less injurious symptoms. If you're not familiar with what these patterns entail, click here to learn more.  Every pitcher entering the season will be given a DVS Score and over the course of 75 games, we will track each pitcher's ROM patterns on a daily basis in order to monitor their recovery time, and gather further data that links DVS Scores to pitch counts and injury. 

We will also be infusing the DVS Arm Care System into the warm-up and recovery routines for all pitchers to ensure all thrower's are efficiently supporting the demands of throwing. The DVS Arm Care System has been researched and proven to facilitate healthier ROM patterns than stretching and other band routines. It also serves as a complete upper body workout routine specifically tailored to the demands of the overhead athlete. To learn more about The DVS Arm Care System and the research that was conducted, click here.

The 100 pitches barrier has become an arbitrary value placed on the maximum number of pitches a starting pitcher is confined to in a single game. We hope to explore this figure in more detail but also see if relievers should abide by specific pitch counts in games and more specifically in back to back games. If a pitcher with a higher DVS Score recovers quickly, this could potentially tell managers/organizations their pitcher can pitch longer in games and endure more innings compared to a pitcher with a lower DVS Score.
Thus far, the DVS Model hasn't been correlated to predict any performance related variables such as velocity, earned run average, strikeouts, walks, etc. Our focus has primarily been on risk and time to injury for a pitcher, but this summer gives us the opportunity to assess whether or not a pitcher's DVS score has relevancy to other performance related statistics.

One of the areas of study we are most excited is the relationship a pitcher's DVS Score will have on sustainable velocity; how long a pitcher can maintain his peak velocity before getting fatigued.  A positive correlation could have many positive benefits to organizations and coaches regarding player decisions and the evaluation of long-term potential.

The season kicks off Monday May 30th at Jimmy John's Field. Will and I will be keeping you updated through our Facebook page and blog on all the latest findings that begin to surface as the season unfolds. Also, this summer, a version of The USPBL Throwing Program will be made available online to the both players and coaches. The release date has yet to be determined.

-Justin Orenduff