Yankees: Aaron Judge leverages AI pitching machine for regular season prep

New York Yankees player, Aaron Judge
Amanda Paula
Tuesday March 19, 2024

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AI technology is revolutionizing sports training, with the New York Yankees joining the ranks of MLB teams embracing innovation. Among their arsenal is Trajekt Arc, an advanced pitching machine meticulously engineered to mirror the delivery, release point, spin rate, and pitch dynamics of professional MLB pitchers. As the team gears up for Opening Day against the Houston Astros on March 28, outfielder Aaron Judge is incorporating the Trajekt Arc into his spring training regimen.

Yankees: Aaron Judge and AI pitching machines

New York Yankees player, Aaron Judge

Despite nursing an abdominal injury, Aaron Judge remains focused on the pivotal day of March 28. In an interview with the New York Daily News on March 12, he emphasized the significance of this date, stressing the importance of meticulous preparation. Utilizing the Trajekt pitching machine, Judge and his teammates are honing their skills, simulating game-like scenarios to fine-tune their performance.

“The most important day is the 28th. So we’re just kind of leading up to that. We’ve already got quite a few at-bats. We’ve got the Trajekt [pitching machine]. We got all the things we need here that kind of simulate some at-bats. So we’ll get some swings inside.” Aaron Judge told the New York Daily News on March 12 as he nurses an abdominal injury.

Despite setbacks, the team is maximizing resources, including the Trajekt machine, to ensure readiness for the upcoming challenges. With ample at-bats and the aid of cutting-edge technology, the Yankees are strategically positioning themselves for success as they approach the highly anticipated Opening Day matchup.

Shohei Ohtani, another standout player in MLB, also attested to the benefits of Trajekt. In a February 21 interview with MLB.com, Ohtani revealed his utilization of Trajekt to achieve his desired 50 at-bat threshold during spring training, crucial for his readiness for Opening Day following elbow surgery the previous September. Ohtani, known for his prowess as both a pitcher and hitter, found Trajekt particularly useful for analyzing his own pitches from various angles, describing it as the optimal sensory experience to refine his skills.

Who is responsible for putting AI in baseball?

The company responsible for providing the New York Yankees with the innovative training tool is Trajekt Sports, a Canadian robotics company. Their creation, Trajekt Arc, stands as a pinnacle in sports technology, offering a state-of-the-art pitching simulator capable of replicating any pitch seen in Major League Baseball. Whether it’s emulating the blistering fastball of Gerrit Cole, the wicked curveball of Clayton Kershaw, or the deceptive slider of Edwin Diaz, Trajekt Arc delivers with precision. 

This remarkable feat is made possible through the analysis of ball-tracking data sourced from cameras installed in every MLB stadium, allowing Trajekt to meticulously reproduce the spin rate, trajectory, and velocity of the desired pitches. To further immerse players in the training experience, Trajekt’s setup incorporates a screen projector, providing real video footage of the selected pitcher’s delivery. This combination of cutting-edge technology and advanced simulation capabilities positions Trajekt Arc as an invaluable tool for teams like the New York Yankees, enhancing their training routines and optimizing player performance.

Joshua Pope, co-founder of Trajekt Sports, explained in a 2022 interview with Athletic Business that while the machine doesn’t control the release extension—how far away the pitcher is from the mound—it does govern crucial elements such as the ball’s orientation, spin axis, velocity, and release position in terms of left, right, up, and down, albeit not its movement towards or away from home plate.

Over 15 MLB teams have already incorporated Trajekt Arc into their training facilities, including the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and the New York Mets. While some teams have installed Trajekt in the batting cages of their home stadiums, others have opted to utilize them exclusively at their spring training or minor league facilities.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Yankees: Aaron Judge leverages AI pitching machine for regular season prep

  1. Unless it is a robot that have pitching, and are having Judge break out of the box on his swings, it’s nothing more than glorified batting practice. They can dress it up as much as they want, but that’s the truth. Show me the machine, I’ll show you I’m right. Now, is it a better batting practice machine than what they had before? Sure, but still nothing like a live body throwing BP.

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