How Twitter changed the baseball recruiting landscape


Rob Friedman’s latest account on Twitter (@Flatgroundapp) has been fundamental in helping baseball players make it to the big leagues. (redlegsfan21/Flickr)

Eli Weiner, Managing Editor

Twitter: the all access pass for quick updates on news, sports and everything in between. Founded in San Francisco in 2006, Twitter has quickly skyrocketed to the top of the app charts. Twitter gives people the opportunity to express themselves through “tweets” which are 280 (max) character messages that people write on the app. Rob Friedman, the creator of @PitchingNinja on Twitter, saw an opportunity to share his love for baseball through GIFs and videos of pitching. “I figured if I was going to coach others, and teach my own kid, then I need to find out how to teach things the right way,” Friedman said to Forbes. “I started my quest to learn pitching mechanics… I didn’t want my knowledge to die when my son graduated or when I stopped coaching. So, I started posting on Twitter to share what I learned with as many people as I could.”

Since Rob created his account in December 2014, it has amassed a very loyal 109,000 followers. These followers include many Major League Baseball players who often comment on Rob’s posts. These posts include GIFs, videos, or images of pitcher’s mechanics.

Recently, Rob has used the platform he made on PitchingNinja to address a major issue that he has seen in baseball: exposure. Clinics, development and simply getting noticed can be an expensive endeavor, as tournaments often require travel. He told Forbes that “it was amazing for me to realize that two guys (Chris Dula and Taylor Grover) were throwing 102 mph and couldn’t get noticed by MLB teams. I mean, if you throw 102 and can’t get noticed, what about the high school kid who throws 88 mph and may have a ton of upside with little money to go to showcases?”

After noticing this, Rob decided to make a new Twitter account called FlatGround. This account has fundamentally changed how baseball players, both amateur and professional, get noticed by scouts. Getting posted on Flatground is easy. A player just needs to upload a video of themselves playing and tag @FlatgroundApp to get retweeted by the account. A large number of college coaches, scouts and players are included in the 20,500 followers, so it is now almost impossible to fall through the cracks of the recruiting scene. “I don’t think baseball should be just a rich kid sport,” he said to Forbes. “I think that hurts the future of baseball and is fundamentally unfair.”

FlatGround is revolutionary to the baseball recruiting landscape. Before FlatGround, the only way to be seen was to spend money on showcases and tournaments or to send videos directly to coaches. To do this, players normally need some type of recruiting coordinator who already has a relationship with the coach. FlatGround, however, eliminates all of this and could further improve the game of baseball. Every player aspires to make their dreams come true, and Rob Friedman is helping turn those dreams into reality for baseball players all over the world.