Vanderbilt Baseball Debuts ‘Pitch-Signaling’ Wearable Devices

The Vanderbilt baseball team debuted a new wearable pitch-signal device this season.

According to a recent report from CBS Sports, Commodore players wear the watch-like device on their glove hand to receive pitch selection information from the coaching staff. This type of technology has been allowed by the NCAA since last year.

vanderbiltWith the college baseball season underway, it’s likely you’ll be seeing more than just Vanderbilt utilizing these wearables on gamedays.

Below is an excerpt from the article on the new wearables at Vanderbilt.

“It is technically called an electronic display board in the NCAA’s lingo,” broadcaster Max Herz explained (via Simon Gibbs). “This was the first year it’s been legal for a college pitcher to wear something like that … Scott Brown, the Vanderbilt pitching coach, is punching numbers into a controller he has, and all nine Vanderbilt players on the field have one. They all see the same thing. That tells the pitcher what type of pitch to throw, and where or how to throw it.”

The devices are one-way (the players can only receive information, not send it) and the watch design is one of several available to teams. They can also use an earpiece. The goal is to improve the pace of play and also cut down on possible sign stealing.

Here’s part of the NCAA’s initial press release:

“Examples of what could be implemented next season include teams being allowed to use an electronic display board from the dugout that shows a numerical code to call pitches and/or defensive plays. Teams also can use a one-way in-ear communication device that would be limited for use from the dugout to the catcher.”

MLB clubs have been paranoid about sign-stealing for years — catchers have put down multiple signs even with the bases empty for close to a decade now — and the Houston Astros‘ sign-stealing scandal brought to light just how far teams will go to gain an advantage. No longer do they simply look for a “tell” from the dugout. They go high-tech with video equipment.

The college baseball season is only one weekend old, so we don’t have nearly enough information about these new pitch-signaling devices yet, but you can be sure MLB is paying attention. The league has limited video access for players since the Astros scandal broke and continues to look into other ways to conceal signs.

To read the full story from about Vanderbilt, click here