Two-for-one Dill: Portland Pickles Asst. GM Parker Huffman explains how MaxBP machines are helping the team and entertaining fans in between innings
This summer, MaxBP teamed up with the Portland Pickles of the collegiate-level West Coast League to bring a new dimension to their training and more fun to their home games. The team uses MaxBP machines primarily for batting practice and pre-game warmups. Pickles Assistant General Manager Parker Huffman said that MaxBP gear is especially helpful for high-speed pitch training and hand-eye coordination.
“The West Coast league is continuing to get higher and higher levels of baseball being played in it,” Huffman explained, adding that pitchers are now throwing in the 90-97 mile-per-hour range in games. “Being able to simulate 90+ [mph] has been really beneficial,” said Huffman.
The Pickles are currently first in their division in the West Coast league with an 11-1 record.
He cited the MaxBP BetterBat as a key asset in developing hand-eye coordination for the team and said that the team has been using the MaxBP machine’s fly ball attachment to do fielding drills.
The team is using the MaxBP equipment beyond scheduled practice, Huffman said, with many spending time on their own using the machines. Huffman said that first baseman Jacob Jablonski, awarded WCL Player of the Week on July 11, has been putting in a lot of work with the machines. Jablonksi, said Huffman, has “been on an absolute tear” in recent weeks, hitting three home runs and eight RBIs in a series sweep against the Walla Walla Sweets.
Huffman said that the MaxBP machines’ diverse range of training opportunities makes them an excellent choice for a variety of activities: the machines come out during the team’s week-long youth camps and are used to train hand-eye coordination for younger players.
If you go to a Pickles game, you may even see a MaxBP machine hard at work during inning breaks. The team uses the machines to run on-field fly ball contests between fans and the Pickles’ mascot, Dillon.
According to Huffman, fans have been fairly successful against Dillon so far. “It’s pretty hard for a mascot who’s got limited visibility to catch [fly balls] so it makes for an entertaining little contest,” he said.
“It’s been great,” Huffman said of the MaxBP machines, “We love having them, and our coaches love them too.”
Keep up with the Pickles on their social media @picklesbaseball on Instagram and Twitter and visit https://www.portlandpicklesbaseball.com/ for team info and tickets.