Sports tech company Motus Global has developed a high-tech compression sleeve for pitchers. It senses the movement of each pitch and determines how much strain the throws put on the arm, to help avoid injuries. Plus: the story of old-timey pitcher “Phenomenal” Smith, who, it’s said, could have used a different kind of smarts in dealing with his teammates.

Smart Sleeve Tells Baseball Pitchers When to Get Off the Mound (

How Smith became “Phenomenal”  (Bob Lemke)

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We’re right in the middle of baseball’s postseason.

Even this late in the season, you can see pitchers throwing the ball extremely fast – close to, or sometimes even above, 100 miles per hour – and pretty accurately, too.

But throwing pitch after pitch after pitch at these speeds can take its toll on a pitcher’s arm.

How can teams get the most out of their hurlers without putting them at risk?

The sports tech company Motus Global has developed a solution, essentially a high-tech compression sleeve for pitchers.

There are sensors in the sleeve that track the way the pitcher’s arm moves as each pitch is thrown, and calculates how much strain those pitches are putting on the muscles and tendons and so forth.

That means managers and teams can determine whether a pitcher’s arm is getting tired as a game goes on, or if that arm is at risk of a more serious injury.

That alone is pretty useful, but there’s more.

Because once you know how a throwing arm is handling the strain of pitching, you can use that information to customize a training program to make that arm stronger. Which cuts the risk of injury even further.

Soon, pitchers will become so strong that nothing can stop them!

Ok, maybe that’s overstating it, but they may become even more phenomenal than they already are.

Which reminds me of the story of old-timey baseball pitcher John F. Smith, aka “Phenomenal” Smith.

Legend has it Smith got his nickname by telling his teammates he was so phenomenal, he didn’t even need them on the field.

They then proceeded to intentionally misplay every ball they could, and after their 14 errors, the team lost 18 to 5, and then released Smith in the interests of dugout harmony.