The 2023 MLB season is officially underway, and with the new rule changes taking effect this year, we're sure to be in store for a thrilling year of baseball! Many MLB players who are Vizual Edge users started opening week off strong, including the reigning AL MVP, Aaron Judge, who kicked off his 2023 campaign with the league's first homer of the year!
Vizual Edge's baseball history began nearly 20 years ago working closely with numerous MLB scouting departments who looked to gain an edge in the amateur draft each year. Every club knows vision is important, just like the old saying "see the ball, hit the ball" goes, yet not all clubs prioritize assessing an athlete's visual processing skills other than completing a standard eye exam. Over the last two decades, Vizual Edge has accumulated over 20,000 MLB draft prospect scores through our MLB scouting partners, primarily from high school and collegiate players, and since our baseline test has not changed, we've been able to draw insights from players' test scores and where they end up. The average Edge Score for the MLB draft is generally around 80.0 (out of 100), which represents a player's overall visual rating. With only milliseconds to identify, process and react to an incoming pitch, it's no wonder that the top hitters in the world tend to have better visual skills and score higher on our baseline assessment. We recently looked at over 1,200 players drafted between 2010 and 2015, and tracked the highest baseball league they recorded at least 1 AB in through the 2021 season. The chart below showcases exactly what you might expect, players who reached the MLB have better overall visual skills across the board, compared to their minor league counterparts. Most noticeably, MLB players in this study had 27% better Convergence skills, which is critical for tracking the ball in the final 10 feet to the plate, compared to players who didn't make it past Rookie (RK) ball.
*Scores from 2010-2015 MLB draftees (position players) who completed at least one Vizual Edge assessment.
The new pitch clock that was implemented as part of the new rules this season, now forces players to quickly gather themselves and prepare for the next pitch at a faster rate than before. MLB players were also 0.22s quicker with their Recognition speeds compared to RK league players, which goes to show the drastic difference and skills it takes to process information quickly to make an appropriate swing decision in the box. Having an elite ability to identify, respond and react to an incoming pitch can help negate the time lost for hitters used to have to gather themselves before stepping back into the batter's box. The new 'ump cams' the league showcased during opening week, gave fans a POV for just how difficult it is to pick the ball up out of the pitcher's hand, track it as it approaches the plate, and make and accurate swing decision, all in the matter of milliseconds!
Aaron Judge picked up right where he left off in 2022 as the AL MVP and Yankees' single-season HR leader with a first inning bomb against the Giants on opening day. Behind the scenes, Judge has been putting in a ton of work to enhance his game, including utilizing Vizual Edge's vision training program for the last 3 seasons. Each year, the Yankee star has cut down on his strikeouts, increased his walks, and improved his overall game. Being arguably best player in baseball not only takes a tremendous amount of talent and work behind the scenes, but it also requires elite visual skills, which Judge certainly now has!
|Before Vizual Edge (2016-2019)||Since Vizual Edge (2020-2022)|
|AB (PA)||1,417 (1,718)||1,221 (1,443)|
Fresh off a new contract extension with the Chicago Cubs, rising star Nico Hoerner is poised to put the league on notice for his elite defense and top-of-the-order hitting ability this season. Hoerner is another Vizual Edge user who reached out during the 2020 offseason to take his game to the next level and stay sharp off the field until play could resume with the global pandemic pushing the season back until July.
"As hitters, we always want to see the ball better, but often don’t actually train this skill. Vizual Edge fills that gap for me. I’ve really bought into both their training program and pre-game warm up and definitely recommend it to anyone interested in focusing on this detail of their game."-Nico Hoerner
|Before Vizual Edge (2019)||Since Vizual Edge (2020-2022)|
|AB (PA)||186 (208)||630 (687)|
The ex-Stanford star was already an elite defender, playing 2B most of his career, but adding enhanced plate discipline to his hitting repertoire, has helped prove his worth to the Cubs and justifies his contract extension last month. With Hoerner and off-season star signing, Dansby Swanson, locking down the middle of the infield, the Cubs look to have one of the best 6-4 defensive pairings in the league. Look for Hoerner to compete for the NL 2B Gold Glove award this season!
There are many interesting storylines this season as each team deals with the new rule changes and works to compete for a World Series title. Can the Yankees get over the hump, will the Phillies make another run, can the Padres finally win a title with all that roster talent? No one knows how this season will unfold, but what we do know is that baseball is here once again, so sit back, relax and enjoy America's Pastime!
At the end of the day, vision alone isn't going to make you become an MLB player, but it does play a critical role in performance. There are many variables that make the entire profile of an athlete, and Vizual Edge believes visual skills are one of them. As an athlete, you are already training the rest of your body and muscles, but majority of you are missing the most important skill you possess... your eyes! Separate yourself from other players by enhancing your pitch recognition, timing, contact, fielding skills, throwing accuracy and much more - all in just a few minutes of training.
Vizual Edge trains each of these visual skills in a simple, online platform called the Edge Trainer. It is designed to improve each of these skills in just 15 minutes, 3x a week, right from home and all on your own computer/iPad. Vision training is the easiest way to improve performance, and knowing how important vision is in baseball, what are you waiting for? Sign up for your at-home plan and learn more at vizualedge.com/baseball.