Quick Tips for Scouting Baseball Opponents with GameChanger

May 7, 2024
Gamechanger Scouting Tips

If you and the teams in your league use the GameChanger, it can be a smorgasbord of insights that could help you win or lose games. 

Here are the basic things good coaches will look for in GameChanger when scouting their competitors. 

#1 Plan How Aggressive You Should Be Stealing Bases with GameChanger

"Watch the catcher!" The pre-inning throwdown to second is often the all coaches will go off when gauging how aggressive they'll be on the basepaths.

This is far from a complete assessment though. 

There are many variables beyond the strength of the catcher's arm like the pitchers time to plate, the infielders fielding the throw and applying the tag and how the catcher actually plays in live throwdowns. 

We can see how successful other runners have been against a team in GameChanger. 

To find this in GameChanger, I like to navigate to the other teams stats (assuming they have stats visible) and navigate to "Pitching" and then scroll to "SB%" to see the teams stolen base percentage. 

I can see the breakdown by pitcher and the team overall. 

Stolen Base Chance GameChanger

The example below shows the team is throwing out under 7% of all would be base stealers. That is a good signal that you can and should run more often than normal. 

To see specific catchers success rates, you can navigate to "Fielding" and then click where it stays "Standard" and change that to "Catching."

Scout catchers in GameChanger

#2 Scout Pitchers in GameChanger

Scouting pitchers in GameChanger isn't as meaningful. We can't see things about specific pitch types, velocities and the like.

The biggest thing I look for are...

  • FPS% (First pitch strike percentage) - Should my hitters jump on the first pitch?
  • LOBB (Lead off base on balls) - Should I tell my leadoff hitter to take until they get a strike?
  • S% (Strike percentage) - What are the odds my guys will see strikes?
  • SM% (Swing and miss rate) - This is the best indicator of the "nastiness" of a pitcher. High SM% generally means great velo, deception and/or breaking stuff. 

All of these stats are in the "Pitching" and then "Advanced" section of the Gamechanger app.

#3 Scouting Hitters in GameChanger

The general eye test gives me a decent idea of batters on an opposing team, but there are a couple of other insights that tell more than just "this is a good hitter" or "this is a bad hitter." 

I like to look at the biggest threats in a lineup and see what types of at bats their putting up. 

  • SM%: (Swing and miss percentage) - Can we strike this kid out with balls in the zone or do we need to pitch around them? Low SM% is a good sign that they will be putting the bat on the ball.  
  • HBP: (Hit by pitches) - Some kids are notoriously prone to getting hit. Often times, seeking them out just to get on base by leaning into them and crowding the plate. We try to pitch these kids away.
  • SAC: (Sacrifice) - Will this kid lay down a bunt? 
  • 6+% (Percentage of at bats that go beyond 6 pitches) - These are patient hitters who likely aren't chasing pitches. Gamechanger doesn't show us chase rate, so this is the best indicator we have in my opinion.

There are tons of other obvious insights you can look into, but those are the big ones I like. 

#4 Scouting Baserunners in GameChanger

We've discussed planning your own running game with GameChanger, but how about defending against the other team's baserunning? 

I like to check teams strengths and weaknesses. 

  • PIK: (Picked off) - Should we try to pick this kid off if he gets on base? If they've been picked off once, they're prone to have it happen again. 
  • SB and Stolen Base % - I like to view these stats together. If someone has stolen 1 base, I don't know that much. If they've stolen 10+ and have a 100% success rate, they might merit special attention or a pitchout.

You'll find these stats in the standard hitting section. 

Alright, that's all for this article. Let me know any of your Gamechanger scouting tips down in the comments!

Quick Notes on GameChanger

#1 Statistical Significance

Data in Gamechanger becomes more valuable the bigger the pool becomes. Gaining insights from a handful of games is not nearly as beneficial as insight from 10+ games or more. Keep this in mind when scouting teams via Gamechanger. Look for long term trends and general signs of consistency before making coaching decisions based on the stats you see. 

#2 Public Stats

I don't believe teams should ever make their stats in Gamechanger public outside of fans and parents. This is just free scouting information for the other team to plan around. Make sure that your team has privacy settings that hide season total stats to everyone but players, fans and parents. Also, vet all fans applying as they might just be spies for the opponent. 

#3 Don't Let Stats Deceive You

Stats are great, but don't let them blind you to what you see with your own eyes and what you know about your own team.  Teams go through hot and cold streaks. Players can look like superstars one day and backups the next. 

About the author 

Nate McCallister

Nate is one of the co-founders of Baseballcentric.com.

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