PHOENIX — Baseball is going high-tech this MLB season with innovation created here in Arizona.
PitchCom allows catchers to communicate with pitchers more seamlessly and in a way that makes it difficult for other teams to sign, steal or cheat.
The Major League move is considered a major step in the fight to prevent sign-stealing.
Craig Filicetti is a Valley-based electrical engineer who created PitchCom.
His business partner, John Hankins, approached him about the idea after the 2019-20 investigation revealed the Houston Astros used a combination of illegally-placed cameras and undetected nonverbal cues to warn players at-bat of incoming pitches.
The PitchCom device works with a flexible receiver that slips inside the pitcher's hat.
The catcher wears one as well, inside his helmet along with a wristband keypad to send the pitch call and location to the pitcher's ear.
Filicetti tells ABC15 Arizona, "PitchCom was first introduced at the Single-A level last year." He also says it's getting mostly positive feedback from players and MLB managers including the Arizona Diamondback's Torey Lovullo.
"Yeah, in one of the meetings, Torey was on there and he was very supportive of the system. He was interested in it. He saw that it could have great potential."
Teams are still allowed to relay signs the old-fashioned way and no one is required to wear the new device, which has been described as easy to use.
Filicetti says, "It's complicated under the hood, just like almost like any good product, there's a lot of sophisticated electronics in it. But it's very, very simple for the players to use."
Twenty-nine of 30 MLB teams now use PitchCom.