ProXR interview on NBC affiliate, KSDK, with Pat McGonigle filmed at All Star Performance in St. Louis
This is hardly a secret: Offensive numbers are way down around Major League Baseball. The league-wide OPS sits at .703, the lowest mark in over two decades. Pitchers throw harder. Strikeout rates have skyrocketed. Aggressive defensive shifts turn more hard-hit balls into outs. In short, it’s just not an easy time to be scoring runs in the big leagues.
The game has not changed that much over the last century – all you need is a bat, a ball, a glove, and some friends. For the most part, equipment design has stayed pretty constant over the years as well. Grady Phelan, the inventor of the Pro-XR baseball bat, is trying to change that using ergonomic principles.
USA TODAY was invited behind the scenes to observe this "Future Show" competition hosted by Under Armour, the athletic apparel maker known for its innovative but pricey sports gear. The contest lures inventors from across the nation.
ProXR bat technology can save Major League Baseball millions of dollars in lost player performance by reducing the factors that cause injuries. Based on preliminary research and ten years of product development, Grady Phelan asserts conventional bat design is the cause of broken hamate injuries.
Grady Phelan has developed a prototype bat that is designed to reduce hand injuries in baseball hitters, most especially hook of the hamate fractures, a frustrating injury that has ruined more than a few players’ seasons.
Beckham fractured his hamate–a bone in the wrist all too familiar to major league players for its propensity to crack unexpectedly. He’d require surgery and couldn’t be back to play for seven weeks. His turnaround was stopped in its tracks. ProXR technology was designed specifically to prevent the fairly common hamate fracture that Beckham had incurred.
During the dead-ball era, baseball players used to grip the bat differently, holding it further up the grip. The knob at the end was to keep players’ hands from sliding off the bat. Graphic designer Grady Phelan created the Pro-XR bat in response to the modern grip.
Bats have not changed much since Honus Wagner became the first player to have his name burned onto a Louisville Slugger. True, they are lighter now, with rounded ends, and since Barry Bonds used it, many players have switched to maple from the traditional white ash. But the general shape is unchanged.
Giant Project, Inc., has launched a Kickstarter project to field-test the performance efficacy of its patented ProXR bat technology.