The recent Elon graduate was named the Hokies’ director of player development, hired to assist the Atlantic Coast Conference program with coaching and development strategies, while utilizing new analytics software and equipment.
In the July 1 release announcing his appointment to the Virginia Tech baseball coaching staff, Kyle Sarazin ’19 still has the look of a recent Elon graduate. That’s thanks largely to the accompanying image of him in a maroon graduation gown and the brick colonnades in the background – see left.
Yet, the announcement of Sarazin as the Hokies’ new director of player development does a great job illustrating why the young alumnus is a great fit due to his skill set, past experiences and “strong credentials in the field of statistics and analytics.”
In fact, Virginia Tech head baseball coach John Szefc went so far as to call Sarazin “a big-time addition to our coaching staff” because of the sport management major’s ability to analyze information and prepare the team for games and practices.
In his new role, Sarazin will assist the staff with coaching and development strategies, which include technology enhancement and opponent scouting, while also providing administrative and recruiting support. He will also oversee the use of the program’s Trackman, Blast Motion and Synergy equipment, which are widely used in professional and college baseball.
“My main goal is to help Tech’s current and future student-athletes put themselves in the best position for success on the baseball field,” said Sarazin in the release. “This can be done through straightforward visualizations that reinforce coaching philosophies or studies to further understand where trends and advantages lie at the ACC level. I am excited to make an impact in this position by helping build buy-in to the player development cycle and helping the coaching staff take Hokie Baseball to the next level.”
As he gets acclimated to his new position, Sarazin will likely lean on his past experiences with the Elon University baseball team as well as USA Baseball this summer.
During the 2019 season, Sarazin assisted the Phoenix baseball program, which reached the Colonial Athletic Association title game, with its Flightscope player tracking system provided by scouting service ScoutCast. During each game and some practices, a rotating cast of students led by Sarazin ran the system and collected data. Pitch speed, spin rate, spin angle, release point, pitch location and trajectory were among the items measured. The students then analyzed the data, preparing visualizations, tables and charts at the coaches’ request, looking for insights that might be valuable.
“The opportunity to work with the baseball team at Elon excited me because it was an opportunity for my team to act as catalysts in bridging the gap between coaching and analytics,” said Sarazin in an interview last month. “The part of the work I enjoyed most was learning from the coaches and our guys pushing each other within the analytics effort. We got to dive into projects that had meaningful impacts on the program's player development.”
This summer, Sarazin is interning with USA Baseball as a trackman data and operations coordinator, working directly with the coaches of the 18U team and its director Frank Jagoda. His primary responsibility is compiling data reports to help select the top 20 high school baseball players in the United States who will compete in South Korea at the 2019 World Championships.
Prior to USA Baseball, Sarazin spent the past two summers completing analytic internships with the Boston Bruins and the Pawtucket Red Sox.
During this time at Elon, Sarazin was a member of the baseball statistics and analytics club, helping the student group win its undergraduate division in the 2017 Society for American Baseball Research case competition.
Sarazin credited Elon’s sport management program and faculty for putting him into a position to gain real-world experience and a valuable skillset.
“For me, it all started in the Dominican Republic study abroad course my freshman year,” he said. “From there I took advantage of the SABR experience and then that led to work with the baseball team on campus. I owe many thanks to the Sport Management Department for giving me opportunities to do the work and be rewarded with engaging experiences. I am excited to join the strong web Elon alumni have built in the baseball industry and serve as a mentor for future students.”