the smart baseball bat
The Smart Bat isn't just for weekend warriors like me. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, an all-star who's arguably the best player in baseball, has partnered with Zepp to develop the bat. Trout, who didn't respond to a request for comment, used it during spring training.
Trout isn't alone in turning to technology to improve performance. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman endorses HeadTrainer, a mobile app designed to help athletes of all types improve their cognitive skills and spatial awareness by playing its in-app games. Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul co-created an app, Game Vision, that uses games it claims will increase court vision awareness.
Los Angeles Angels all-star Mike Trout helped design a smart bat with Zepp Labs that they hope can be used in an actual Major League Baseball game.
"I have learned how crucial technology has become in sports performance," Paul told me in a recent email. "It's really very exciting."
Zepp isn't new to smart-bat technology. The company began working with Trout in 2014, when the slugger was unanimously named the American League's Most Valuable Player. At the time, the sensor was attached to the bat's knob.
Data about how a batter is swinging streams to "Smart Coach," an app that offers video tips from big leaguers, including Trout and Chicago Cubs hitting coach John Mallee. A new version of the sensor, Zepp 2, which can also track golf and tennis swings, hit the market earlier this month for about $150.
Last year, Trout and Zepp designed the new Smart Bat sensor that's built into the bat itself. The placement inside the bat's handle provides more-precise measurements of a swing and is less of a distraction than the original sensor because batters don't see it. The company, which has approached Major League Baseball and the players association, hopes the bat might be used in actual games.