Kernels Use Inside Edge to Victory

By Jeff Johnson

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Kernels starting pitchers work hard during games. Maybe more so when they're not throwing.

They are responsible for charting every pitch and at-bat of a game. That included last night's 5-1 win over Beloit at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

This season the charting is being done via computer as well. The parent Los Angeles Angels are clients of a company called Inside Edge that has created software to provide detailed pitching and hitting data and video that can be easily accessed and shared by managers, coaches and instructors throughout the organization.

"It can be a wealth of information," said Kernels hitting coach Brent Del Chiaro.

Kernels pitchers still sit behind home plate and keep the old written charts. That hasn't changed.

But now they're inputting everything onto a computer at the same time.

"This is more detailed than the written one we do," said Kernels pitcher Stephen Locke, who shared computer duties Tuesday with injured pitcher Fabio Martinez. "And they can just print this (information) out."

The Kernels have small cameras behind home plate and in center field that video each pitch and at-bat and are linked to Inside Edge. Charters use the Inside Edge software to punch in each pitch (what type it was, its velocity and location) and result of an at-bat (where it was hit, who fielded it, etc.).

The gathered info produces spray charts that show pitcher and hitter tendencies.

"By the time you are done (inputting) everything with one pitch, the next one is already being thrown," said Locke. "You've got to be quick. You stay busy the whole game."

Sometimes too busy, according to Del Chiaro and Kernels pitching coach Brandon Emanuel, who say inputted information can easily be unintentionally missed or inaccurate. Inside Edge did tutorials with managers, coaches and some players during spring training.

Computers have inexplicably shut off during games this season as well. That's why the Kernels also produce the written charts as backup.

"The problem we have at this level is the consistency of the right information being (inputted)," Emanuel said. "They don't do it at the levels below us. So if a kid comes up here, he's just getting introduced to this. They can miss a lot of stuff. So a lot of the information we get (from the program) can be skewed at times."

That being said, Inside Edge can be highly valuable, Emanuel and Del Chiaro agree.

"If it's done right, I think it's great," Emanuel said.

Ariel Pena (6-4) threw seven five-hit innings to get the win Tuesday. The Kernels (68-43) scored four times in the fourth, including a two-run Carlos Ramirez home run.
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