Vision, Sensory and Motor Testing Could Predict Best Batters in Baseball

Monday, January 8, 2018

High scorers on computer tests spent more time on base, had more walks, fewer strikeouts

New research from Duke Health suggests baseball scouts looking for a consistent, conscientious hitter may find clues not only in their performance on the field, but also in front of a computer screen.

In a study of 252 baseball professionals published Jan. 8 in the journal Scientific Reports, Duke researchers found players with higher scores on a series of vision and motor tasks completed on large touch-screen machines called Nike Sensory Stations, had better on-base percentages, more walks and fewer strikeouts -- collectively referred to as plate discipline -- compared to their peers.

“There has been a data revolution in the game of baseball over the past decade with the introduction of technologies that track the speed and movement of every pitch, the location of players in the field, and other tools that can quantify player performance like never before,” said lead author Kyle Burris, a Duke statistician and Ph.D. candidate.

“In this study, we wanted to quantify the links between an athlete’s senses such as eyesight and motor control using task scores and game performance,” he said. “We found positive relationships between several tasks and performance for hitters, but not for pitchers.”

Read full Duke Health article.