From No College Offers to Top D2 in NE10 Conference

College baseball wasn’t on Zach’s mind until he got to his senior year of high school. At this point he hasn’t played in a varsity game until he reached his senior season. His freshman through junior year he was undersized, had a choppy swing, below average speed on the bases, and lacked arm strength in the field. However, in his junior year of high school Covid hit and he saw this as an opportunity, making the best out of a bad situation. He would spend hours in his garage and on the field working to fix his swing, his fielding, and on his arm strength. He also took the opportunity to put on 15 lbs and was even fortunate enough to grow 3 inches in the process. He even started taking hitting lessons with one of his local hitting coaches – who was the same coach that cut him from his middle school baseball team – and really started to move in the right direction. He ended up hitting just shy of .400 his senior season and made all conference as the team’s shortstop.
The same hitting coach reached out to a college coach in the area and was willing to give him a shot, but made no promises that he would see any playing time. Taking a chance, he decided to play baseball at a JUCO in Connecticut, UConn Avery Point. He started his college career weighing in at just 165 lbs but managed to find a way into the starting lineup. Zach slashed .317/.422/.439 in his two years and it was now time for him to transfer out and find a new home. He is now playing at the number one ranked school in the NE10 conference for 2024; Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, waiting for his Junior season to start back up in the spring.

Original Assessment

Coming into house Zach expressed more of a pushy swing than a rotational swing, exhibiting a little bit of a one piece swing (as seen below). This caused inefficient sequencing throughout the swing which could result in his low exit velocity and struggle to pull the ball in the air properly. We also noticed that his current weight was relatively low considering his size, and his strength numbers in the gym weren’t where they needed to be on top of that.

Zach Mascaro First Swing

K-Vest Data

While using K-Vest we were able to verify that his body was out of sequence and he showed improper timing throughout the swing. His pelvis was over coiling compared to his torso, forcing his pelvis to rotate much farther creating an improper timing for loading separation in the swing. We also found that he was expressing too much torso forward bend at heel strike, making it difficult for him to adjust to pitches higher in the zone.
This caused Zach to have more of a one piece swing as he wasn’t giving his body enough time to sequence properly and accelerate each segment one piece at a time. This created a lack of adjustability in his swing and also limited the amount of power that he could create throughout the swing

Batted Ball Data

In his batted ball data there were a few things that stood out to us:

  • His peak exit velocity was relatively low
  • He didn’t have the ability to drive the ball far
  • He has very good control of the barrel
  • Makes plus contact + great vision at the plate

Blast Data

  • His average bat speed was low
  • Peak bat speed was low (69.6)
  • This caused a low expected peak exit velocity; and evidently a low peak exit velocity

Post Assessment

Through capturing how the body, bat, and ball moves throughout his swing we could make a clear plan going forwards. Through his batted ball report we were able to see that he was best at hitting pitches up in the zone, which also matches his attack angle through the zone. From knowing this we knew that landing at high pitch posture was a must, making sure that he was always ready to hit his best pitch. With that we decided to also get him to have more of a neutral load between his pelvis and torso so we could improve the timing of his separation throughout the swing. It was also a must for him to gain bat speed along the way so he could hit the ball harder and gain more production from his at bats

New K-Vest Data:

Through specific drill work we were able to get Zach to have more of a neutral load allowing his pelvis to gain more ground at first move. This was huge as it allowed him to be more rotational, thus letting his swing be more adjustable, but it also helped improve his bat speed as he was able to move efficiently.
After putting in the work for the past two months his batter ball numbers increased all around the board
  • Peak Exit Velocity 96.3 mph (+5.3 mph)
  • Average Exit Velocity 85.6 mph (+3.4 mph)
  • Peak Distance 356 ft. (+35 ft)
  • Peak Bat Speed 73.6 mph (+4 mph)
  • Average Bat Speed 68.7 mph (+3.4 mph)
This was all done without access to bat speed trainers (as he trains outside of the facility) or any other tools we have in house and he was still able to make major strides forward. However, it doesn’t just stop there. Another huge improvement that he made was found in the gym. He now stands at 185 lbs (20 added pounds) and increased strength along the way. His front squat went from 225 to 310lbs and his bench press went from 185 to 240 lbs. It’s safe to say that he doesn’t want to leave anything on the table by the time his spring season comes around.

With the ability to see objective feedback, Zach is fully bought into the process. He explained to
me that having the data “helps him buy in 100% because it’s just objective evidence. I feel like
hitting is so subjective nowadays because everybody has their own viewpoint. And for me I’m
kinda a headcase so I tend to question if I’m getting better or not. But this gives me objective
evidence that what we’re doing is working and I’m getting better and I’m starting to feel a lot
better as well.

He will have an exciting season to say the least. With plus speed on the bases and with his newly added power at the plate combined with his plus contact should make for an exciting season to say the least.

Train at Bobby Valentine's Sports Academy

By Tyler Restivo