With MLB currently on hiatus, players are finding unique ways to stay in shape. Both with the help of those close to them and with various forms of technology.
Many players across the league had the help of their better halves to make sure they stayed loose.
Giants catcher Rob Brantly had the assistance of his wife, Milene, and Yankees pitcher Gerritt Cole was throwing to his wife Amy Crawford -- sister of Brandon Crawford -- who is a former UCLA softball player.
Giants pitcher Conner Menez, drafted by the team in 2016, also used some assistance from his fiancee’ Breanna -- which she enjoyed, but he’s also using Pocket Radar technology.
“I really think it has improved me right now during this kind of a tough time that we're going through, to kind of keep sharp and make sure I know where my speed is,” Menez told NBC Sports Bay Area.
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The Pocket Radar system, based in Santa Rosa, uses speed tracking technology for a range of applications that is easily shareable. While we’re used to seeing radar guns in the stands by scouts, this takes more of a cell phone shape which could often prove less intimidating.
Menez, who made his big league debut last season, has been utilizing that (thanks to a quick DM) in his daily training to both check-in with his coaches and stay in shape. He believed it was imperative since the MLB halt.
“The greatest thing is it’s super mobile,” Menez added. “I know I’m losing my bullpens, but I’m not dropping out. I don’t need to like, call my coaches to try and change something dramatically. I’m keeping up with my training, but just in case, whenever this whole thing blows over, I’m ready to go.”
(courtesy Pocket Radar)
It’s also very easy to use. While we live in a world where technology is crammed down our throats, Menez can keep track of his velocity which is a huge performance indicator. And something that was easy to come by in the usual Giants facilities. Last season, Menez's four-seam fastball averaged around 91.4 mph when he threw it.
Things, of course, are different now, but Menez said the communication has still been strong with the organization.
“They’ve been super good with communicating with me from our strength coaches to our trainers to our pitching coaches up in the big leagues,” Menez added. "Even our analytics guys are reaching out to me. They’re just kind of making sure you’re ready to go, see how the progress is going. We just had a Zoom meeting, I think, the first week in May just to kind of get together and talk about an update of things since it’s been a couple months since we’ve heard. We had the whole team on the Zoom meeting and kind of updated on when it might start.”
After Menez had the assistance of Breanna, things in Idaho were slowly opening up including his gym and a facility that has a portable mound.
Last season, Menez boasted a 5.29 ERA with a 1.471 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 17 innings.
It appears across the sport many are taking it into their own hands to stay ready for when baseball returns. Whenever that might be.