Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX human kinetics professor Dr. Sasho MacKenzie consults with LA Dodgers during spring training

March 3rd, 2020
Dr. Sasho MacKenzie

StFX human kinetics professor Dr. Sasho MacKenzie had a unique opportunity over Reading Week. He travelled to Arizona for Major League Baseball’s spring training—at the request of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

“The focus of this trip was fitting hitters into the most appropriate bat for them,” says Dr. MacKenzie who has been working with professional and Olympic athletes on their training techniques and biomechanics for the past 15 years. 

In the past six years, he’s focused mainly on the golf industry, but two years ago he started consulting with the LA Dodgers. “I was contacted by their player development department based on my published research and success in the golf industry,” he says. 

While in Arizona, he was with the Dodgers, who play in the National League, on February 18th and 19th, and with the Texas Rangers of the American League on February 20th. 

“The process involves the biomechanics of how the hitter swings the bat, the physics of impact and ball flight and then predicting which bat properties would yield the best in game hitting performance over the course of the season or against a particular pitcher using statistical techniques,” he says. 

Dr. MacKenzie has teamed up with an entity called Baseball Performance Labs and Marucci Sports, the number one bat provider to the MLB. 

“Marucci is able to custom build the bats based on our fitting recommendations. I also consult with the teams’ performance science departments. What’s the best data to collect on players, what’s the best way to collect that data, and how should this information be communicated to hitting coaches and players.”

He says the experience has been a good one. 

“Conducting and publishing scientific research is very enjoyable, but being asked to apply your research and knowledge at the highest level of sport has been particularly satisfying.” 

 

This research is, in part, made possible by the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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