Trackman Traits - Pitching: 2023 RHP Nolan Hood (Male HS)

Zach Guth
KY Contributor/PA-NY Advanced Scout

Welcome to Trackman Traits! In this piece we will be dissecting the numbers the Trackman produces and the effect they can have on a pitcher's approach. Below there will be definitions of each category that we believe to be the most important for a young arm to keep in mind as well as breaking down an arm and giving suggestions on how they can improve their game. Keep in mind, in some categories it is better to be further away from average even if the numbers are wavering on below average. 


Fastball velocity doesn't go much deeper than just looking at the numbers and comparing them to the graphic below! Fastball velocity complements just about all of the other metrics that are measured. If you throw hard, it makes all your other pitches/metrics even better.


Spin rate is a measurement that if you are below average or above average, you can pitch with more room for error. On the other hand, if you are average you should try to throw in the bottom half of the zone with exceptional command. High spin fastballs profile as one that is frequently described as having "late life". Low spin fastballs tend to profile as a fastball that has heavy feel to it. Pitch movement is still dependent on spin direction of the pitch but Trackman does not have that metric displayed on profiles. 


Bauer Units are an easier way of determining how useful the spin numbers are compared to the velocity. We can calculate this metric by taking average spin rate and dividing it by average velocity. Bauer Units are useful because we can have a case of two pitchers with the same spin numbers, ex. 2200 RPM, but one pitcher throws 90 MPH and the other throws 83 MPH. The pitcher throwing 90 MPH with 2200 spin is not as impressive as the pitcher throwing 83 MPH with the same spin. Typically, we would tell the harder throwing pitcher to throw up in the zone purely off his velocity and his high spin, but because his Bauer Units would equate to around 24 that would be only 1 unit off of average (23), therefore he would want to hammer the bottom of the zone. On the other side, the pitcher throwing 83 MPH has a Bauer Unit measurement of 26 which is incredibly impressive. This would allow him to throw up in the zone even though his velocity is not blow away type numbers because he produces above average spin with that slated velocity. 


As far as deception and importance goes, fast induced vertical break (IVB) may be the most important. Induced vertical break is not what is sounds. IVB simply means the pitch is "breaking" upward from the average level a pitch falls from release to home plate. This is a stat that you want to stay away from being average at. Fortunately, this can be tweaked slightly depending on release height. To put it simply, the higher number =  more "rise" the pitch has compared to average. Lower number = more depth the pitch has to it. 


Spin rate on curveballs is pretty simple: higher spin = nastier stuff. There are some ways to manipulate spin numbers slightly but for the most part spin is spin. At the moment, there are no well known ways to change your spin in a big way. Spin not only dictates how sharp your curveball is, but it can also aid in keeping hitters honest by having similar rotation matching that of your fastball. 


Nolan Hood

Class of 2023 / RHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2023
  • Primary Position: RHP
    Secondary Position: 3B
  • High School: Male
    State: KY
  • Summer Team: Louisville Legends 17u National (Wilson)
  • Height: 6-1
    Weight: 190lbs
  • Bat/Throw: R/R

2020 Scouting Report


6-foot-1, 180 pound RHP. Athletic frame with room to add. Long arm action works through a high 3/4 slot. Quick arm, loose out front. Occasional arm-side run on 81-84 mph fastball that touched 85. Max fastball spin rate 2198 rpm. Shows feel for curveball with 11/5 shape and tight spin. spin rates with max of 2385. Curveball produced some swing and miss. Stuck with fastball/curveball mix showing ability to throw both for strikes. Currently one of the top arms in the 2023 class with upside.



Fastball Breakdown

Velocity: Diving into the headline stat, velocity. Hood's max velo falls into the top 25% of high school arms, but his average velo is somewhere in the top 26-50%. Now, keep in mind that Hood is a 2023 grad so there is some upside here. Being only a sophomore, he has room to grow and mature and hopefully tap into some more velocity. On another plus, Hood has clean mechanics that produce seemingly effortless velo. This, along with other things, play in how the pitch appears to a hitter on its way in. 

Spin Rate (SR): Taking a raw look at the numbers, it doesn't appear that Hood has the ability to spin the ball as he falls around the top 50% of high school arms. Instead of just thinking of spin as it appears on the chart above, let's think a little more along the lines of "Is his spin good for how hard he throws?". If we think this way, let's skip this section and jump right into Bauer Units, because there we will truly be able to determine if Hood can spin it. 

Bauer Units: This is where Bauer Units come in handy. Typically you can see whether someone can spin it well or not purely off the numbers, but looking at Hood's numbers you wouldn't be able to determine that. Thankfully, we have Bauer Units so we can realize that for how hard Hood is chucking it, he does, in fact, have plus spin. Falling in around 27 Bauer Units, Hood has an advanced ability to spin the ball. Surely enough, when his velo starts to climb so will the spin numbers. 

Induced Vertical Break (IVB): When I was looking at Hood's numbers, I saw his velo and his spin and automatically assumed that his IVB numbers wouldn't be incredibly high, but once I saw his Bauer Unit measurement I knew there were going to be some pretty stellar IVB numbers. With an IVB max of 22", there is definitely some potential to be able to throw the ball up in the zone. I don't know for a fact, but I think that this 22" measurement most likely came from his 85 MPH pitch. With his uptick in velo and spin attached, Hood should pan out to be a top of the zone type arm in the near future. Definite swing and miss potential on the heater here. 

Curveball Breakdown

Spin Rate (SR): Hood displays a quality breaking ball with above average spin. Obviously from what we know about velocity and spin, the more his velocity goes up the better his spin and pitch movement will be. So enough about the simple stuff, let's get into movement profile. 

Horizontal/Vertical Break: When we look at horizontal movement (HM) you want to think about it on a number line scale from the pitcher's view to home. At pitcher's mound, the measurement would be zero if someone threw a pitch that didn't move to either side. If a pitch moves to the left, it is a negative number and if a pitch moves to the right it would be a positive number. Hood's curveball is tall and has excellent slide to it. -11 and -8 inches are both big numbers to have and are off the chart at the high school level. For now, let's stick to comparing Hood in the high school level as he still has a couple years until he sniffs a college campus. With -11 inches of break to his glove side, this pitch shapes up to be a big, tall, sweeps breaking ball. Depending on the release point, Hood can drop this pitch in the zone as an early count "get me over" pitch or throw it for a swing and miss two strike pitch. If we want to get even further in depth, we could talk about pitch tunneling with his fastball. I think that with his IVB numbers on his fastball and his breaking ball, he could pair his fastball up in the zone with his breaking ball to absolutely lock hitters up. Both pitches come out of the same slot and appear to be the same, but then we would see the curveball dive. Hood will be a dangerous arm to watch moving forward, especially if he can put it all together. 


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