This year at the PBR Super 60 showcase, Vizual Edge, an industry leader in visual skills assessments and training, put the prospects through a visual skills baseline test as part of the evaluation process. The web-based program assessed the strengths and weaknesses of each prospect's visual system.
Vizual Edge has years of experience working closely with MLB scouting departments, who have prospects take the same assessment the Super 60 players were exposed to. As a result of working with these MLB teams over the years, and with 15,000+ evaluations and counting, Vizual Edge has been able to monitor and correlate the core visual skills from the assessments to on-field performance at the MLB-level, finding that better baseball players tend to have better visual skills.
Every prospect that went through Vizual Edge's assessment had each of their core-six visual skills evaluated: Alignment, Depth Perception, Convergence, Divergence, Recognition, and Tracking. Each of the core visual skills relates to a baseball player's ability on the field, whether it is reaction speed, focus on a pitch, or decision making, the assessment helps to identify a player's strengths and weaknesses in their visual system.
Each skill is weighted into a player's overall Edge Score, which is a comprehensive score out of 100 that provides athletes, parents, coaches, and scouts a benchmark number for a player's overall visual ability. The table below shows a breakdown of various exit velocity ranges and the average visual skills associated with players whose peak exit velocity during the Super 60 Showcase fell into that range.
Exit velocity is a metric used to measure the speed at which the ball comes off the bat. Nearly every visual skill from the Vizual Edge evaluation is better in the top exit velocity category, compared to the other ranges. Two of the most noticeable differences in the above table, and arguable two of the most important visual skills, are convergence and recognition.
Convergence is an athlete's ability to focus on an incoming object or an object in close proximity. This visual skill is directly tied to a hitter's ability to focus on an incoming pitch, which we can see above, impacts their exit velocity. Having a stronger convergence score allows a hitter to focus better on a pitch as it approaches the final third of the plate, which impacts their ability to react to the pitch appropriately and connect on a swing.
Along with convergence, another important visual skill in baseball is recognition. Recognition relates to an athlete's ability to process a series of visual targets, and respond quickly and accurately. Here we see that the prospects with better exit velocities had not only more accurate recognition scores, but were also significantly faster than their peers. Recognition can impact a hitter's pitch identification and decision making at the plate.
Vizual Edge has found that hitters at the MLB-level who have better convergence and recognition skills, generally have significantly better overall plate discipline. While these two skills in particular standout above in the Super 60 exit velocity table, the combination and utilization of all core-six visual skills is critical for a hitter's success at the plate.
WINNING IS IN SIGHT!