LSU Baseball Implementing Virtual Reality to Help Hitters Gauge Tendencies of Opposing Pitchers

Glen West

LSU coach Paul Mainieri is entering his 38th season as a head coach and knows better than most that in order to have success, you must be willing and able to adapt to the times. With modern technology being at the forefront of most sports these days, Mainieri is starting to implement technological advances to benefit his team.

There's the new pitching technology called 'Motus' which gauges the amount of pitches an LSU pitcher has thrown on a given day. That data is then compiled to project how many pitches the player should throw the next day or if he needs a day of rest to recuperate.

The pitcher's have raved about 'Motus,' saying its keeping them fresh and healthy while not taking away from the work they need to get in.

Now it looks like the hitters are going to benefit from modern technology. Mainieri revealed on Thursday the team is installing something called "Win Reality," which essentially is a virtual reality gizmo that will allow the LSU hitters to practice the tendencies, velocity and movement of opposing pitchers.

The hitters will wear virtual reality goggles and be shown video of opposing pitchers so the hitters can simulate an at bat with that specific pitcher. The players will also be given a bat that has a sensor that will help judge whether pitches are strikes or balls and give a reading on the kinds of pitches that are being thrown.

"If we're facing Kumar Rocker from Vanderbilt on Thursday night before the game, our players will literally watch him pitch with goggles on as though they're standing in the batter's box," Mainieri said.  

The company is hired to put the data into the system which tracks the pitcher's movement and spin rate on their particular pitches. 

LSU entered into a three-year contract with "Win Reality" and is converting a room in the batting cages which will hopefully give the hitters an extra advantage come game time. While Mainieri still believes that hard work is the ultimate test to being successful, he said it does help that modern technology can be used to benefit the players in these kind of ways.

"All of that stuff helps in preparing them and hey if it's out there, we want to see if it works, we'd be crazy not too," Mainieri said. 

When Mainieri was first approached with the idea he said he was completely dumbfounded by it and wanted to try it out himself first.

"When they first came to me I was like 'Please, you've gotta be kidding me," Mainieri said. "And then I put the goggles on and I held the bat and it was the craziest thing I've ever seen. I stood in the batter's box against Cole Henry and [Jack] Leftwich from Florida and watched them pitch to me."

LSU right fielder Daniel Cabrera knows Vanderbilt is one of the schools that uses "Win Reality" because he has a few friends that are on the team. The junior oufielder said he can't wait for it to be set up so he and the rest of the offense can get to work.

"I heard it's unreal so I'm excited to get to work with it," Cabrera said. "We haven't seen it or used it but I've heard a few other teams that use it and they said it's awesome. I'm not sure how it is but I've been told it feels like a real at bat and that you can see the spin rate of the ball. It sounds pretty cool and could really help us out so I'm excited about it."

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