Rob Friedman (baseball analyst)
|Alma mater||University of North Carolina and Emory Law School|
|Known for||Baseball Analyst/Social Media Personality|
Rob Friedman, also known by the moniker PitchingNinja, is an American baseball analyst and social media personality known for his pitching gifs and videos Twitter and for creating social media resources for baseball recruiting and scouting. He is an analyst for Major League Baseball and ESPN Friedman coaches High School baseball and is also a licensed attorney. As of 2019, Friedman had approximately 190,000 followers on his PitchingNinja Twitter account. Friedman's PitchingNinja account has been referred to as "one of baseball’s most famous social media accounts."
Major League Baseball dispute and resolution
In 2018, Friedman was briefly suspended from Twitter by Major League Baseball and Twitter, due to a copyright dispute, but eventually was reinstated and hired as an analyst for Major League Baseball, in what was seen as a potential change for baseball's restrictive social media policy. Since Friedman's reinstatement, his work has been featured on MLB.com
Friedman creates pitching analysis videos and GIFs on Twitter and is a pitching analyst for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN College Baseball and Major League Baseball. An ESPN article previewing the 2019 Major League Baseball Post-Season referred to certain pitchers as 'PitchingNinja Bait" meaning "A pitcher whose pitches are so unrepentantly sexy they are likely to be turned into GIFs by invaluable Twitterer, @pitchingninja."
During the 2019 season, Friedman also contributed to a weekly segment for "Changeup" on DAZN with Cespedes Family BBQ featuring each week's Major League Baseball pitching highlights and also a weekly segment for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
Friedman's analysis has frequently been used by journalists and media outlets to help visually illustrate the pitches of major league pitchers. Additionally, his work has also been credited by Major League and Minor League pitchers in helping them develop and refine their pitches.
Friedman's pitching analysis style has been described as "combin[ing] the knowledge of someone who studied pitching to help his young son improve with the wonderment of a fan who can’t help but plotz at how major leaguers are capable of manipulating a baseball."
PitchingNinja's FlatGround accounts
In January 2019, Friedman started FlatGroundapp with a focus on pitchers getting recruited and scouted through social media. Friedman's FlatGroundApp account has been cited as a new development in baseball recruiting and scouting. FlatGround is followed by many Major League Baseball executives, which allows players to get free exposure.
Some of the professional pitchers who have credited Friedman and FlatGround with helping them get noticed by Major League affiliated organizations include: Taylor Grover, Chris Dula, Chris Nunn, Nathan Patterson, Tyler Gillies, Casey Crosby, D. J. Snelten and Jordan Brink.  In August 2019, Nathan Patterson's signing received coverage by national publications, where Patterson mentioned that the exposure he received due to a Viral video on FlatGroundapp and PitchingNinja assisted him in signing a professional contract with the Oakland Athletics. Patterson's signing has been referred to as Friedman's "most public success story."
Additionally, in early 2019, a young baseball player, Jax Nystrom, who was highlighted on Friedman's FlatGroundBats account was contacted by Alex Bregman to hit with him in Spring Training, which was featured on MLB.com as well as other publications.
- Orgera, Scott. "'Pitching Ninja' Rob Friedman Launches FlatGround To Help Pitchers Learn And Be Seen". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
- Bogage, Jacob (January 14, 2019). "PitchingNinja is turning Twitter into a Digital Scouting Showcase, MLB teams have noticed". The Washington Post.
- url=PitchingNinja ESPN Segment
- Diamond, Jared (August 15, 2019). "A Regular Guy Hit 96 MPH in a Speed-Pitch Booth. A Viral Video Turned Him Into a Prospect". Wall Street Journal.
- Smith, Patrick (August 15, 2019). "Baseballs Pitching Ninja on Big Law, Spotting Talent". American Lawyer.
- "Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- Alexander, Wilson (April 5, 2019). "Cole Henry inspires confidence in his LSU teammates less than 2 months into his freshman season".
- Wed, Apr 18th 2018 9:39am-Mike Masnick. "Stupid Copyright: MLB Shuts Down Twitter Account Of Guy Who Shared Cool MLB Gifs". Techdirt. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
- "Will Major League Baseball ever understand social media?". SI.com. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
- Passan, Jeff (April 17, 2018). "Twitter Suspends Pitching Guru, MLB Considers Loosening Social Media Restrictions". Yahoo Sports.
- Bogage, Jacob (April 24, 2018). "PitchingNinja is back in Baseball's Good Graces, Here's What He Learned". Washington Post.
- "@PitchingNinja Vs. MLB: Lessons From A Twitter Showdown". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Jordan Hicks throws unhittable sliders vs. Pirates". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Satchel Paige throws eephus pitch to batter". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Comparing McHugh's 'Matrix' moves". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Edwin Diaz's fastball and slider are unhittable". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Chris Sale dominates Royals". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- Pitch, Inside (2019-04-23). "We tracked down @PitchingNinja, who spends his days as a tech attorney and moonlights as a Pitching Contributing Analyst for @MLB and @ESPN, to learn how he got the nickname and find out more about his one-of-a-kind story". @insidepitchmag. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Your ultimate guide to MLB's October bullpens: Stars, surprises, rankings and more". ESPN.com. 2019-10-04. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- "Cespedes Family BBQ duo talks Pitching Ninja, their baseball journey and 'ChangeUp' show". www.sportingnews.com. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
- Cespedes Family BBQ (2019-10-01). "THE NASTIEST PITCHES OF THE YEAR WITH @PITCHINGNINJA HIMSELF". @CespedesBBQ. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- Friedman, Rob (2019-10-02). "My ESPN PitchingNinja segment on Manaea. pic.twitter.com/dvbJgdUgnI". @PitchingNinja. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- Friedman, Rob (2019-07-15). "ESPN Sunday Night Baseball PitchingNinja Segment on David Price.pic.twitter.com/prq52f73ry". @PitchingNinja. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- "'Pitching Ninja' breaks down his favorite Giants pitchers". NBCS Bay Area. 2019-01-02. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- Adler, Lindsey (July 20, 2018). "The PitchingNinja Gives Fans Insight into the Game and Helps Major Leaguers Steal Each Other's Grips". The Athletic.
- "'Pitching Ninja' examines his favorite A's pitchers". NBCS Bay Area. 2019-01-03. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Who throws MLB's nastiest curveballs and sliders?". SI.com. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- "Rays-Astros: A pair of Charlie Morton pitches have Twitter buzzing". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
- Adler, Lindsey. "The 'Pitching Ninja' gives fans insight into the game..." The Athletic. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Rosecrans, C. Trent. "Have a dominant pitch? Trevor Bauer will take that, thank..." The Athletic. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- Rosecrans, C. Trent. "Have a dominant pitch? Trevor Bauer will take that, thank..." The Athletic. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Biertempfel, Rob. "The Pirates have West Virginia's Alek Manoah on their draft..." The Athletic. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Sunday Notes: Eugenio Suárez Added Power and Sterling Sharp is a Pitching Ninja". FanGraphs Baseball. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
- "As Twitter suspends a pitching guru, MLB considers loosening its social-media restrictions". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
- Orgera, Scott (January 4, 2018). "PitchingNinja Rob Friedman Launches Flatground to help ptichers learn and be seen". Forbes.
- Bogage, Jacob (January 14, 2018). "Pitching Ninja is turning Twitter into a Digital Scouting Showcase, MLB Teams have noticed=https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/01/14/pitching-ninja-is-turning-twitter-into-digital-scouting-showcase-mlb-teams-have-noticed/". Washington Post.
- "'Pitching Ninja' Rob Friedman creates free twitter service to help developing pitchers". USA TODAY High School Sports. 2019-01-06. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- Weiner, Eli (2019-03-07). "How Twitter changed the baseball recruiting landscape". The RamPage. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- Bogage, Jacob (January 14, 2019). "PitchingNinja is Turning Twitter into a Digital Scouting Showcase, MLB teams have noticed". Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 18, 2019.
- jaivers1 (2019-02-04). "Rob Friedman's New FlatGround Platform is Helping Young Pitchers Get Noticed and Get Better". Evolution Metrix. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Former Giants prospect using social media to make comeback". NBCS Bay Area. 2019-11-26. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
- Cooper, JJ (December 14, 2018). "Taylor Grover's 'Perfectly Crazy' Year Ends With Baltimore Orioles". Baseball America.
- "Throw 102 and Need a Contract? @PitchingNinja Can Help You". SportTechie. 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
- "How Chris Nunn's quest to go viral with 99-mph video helped him earn a shot at MLB redemption". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- Layton, Jeremy (2019-01-30). "How a viral video helped Chris Nunn get a shot at the MLB". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
- Sanders, Ryan (2019-04-18). "Los Angeles Dodgers Sign Twitter and Flatground sensation, Chris Nunn". Call to the Pen. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
- "Rangers sign lefty after 99-mph video 'blew up'". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
- Patterson, Nathan (2019-08-02). "I can't thank @PitchingNinja and @FlatgroundApp enough for help on getting me exposure and on the map! Rob is changing the way players can be seen and get opportunities!". @npatterson_12. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
- Lesniewski, Kyle (March 2, 2019). "Milwaukee Brewers to sign Canadian pitcher Tyler Gillies".
- "Dodgers Sign Intriguing Left-Hander Casey Crosby". Dodgers Nation. 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
- "Ex-Giants prospect using social media to make comeback". NBCS Bay Area. 2019-11-26. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
- "Throw 102 and Need a Contract? @PitchingNinja Can Help You". SportTechie. 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- Diamond, Jared. "A Regular Guy Hit 96 MPH in a Speed-Pitch Booth. A Viral Video Turned Him Into a Prospect". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- "Pitching Ninja on helping A's Patterson gain attention". NBCS Bay Area. 2019-08-02. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- Weaver, Levi. "Chris Nunn and his 99 mph fastball are the latest success..." The Athletic. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- "Rangers sign lefty after 99-mph video 'blew up'". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
- Brink, Jordan (2019-08-15). "Words cannot express how grateful I am for @PitchingNinja! On the last limb of my baseball career he did all he could to get my videos seen by the right people. Thank you, Rob! I owe you an unpayable debt! What you are doing for the game of baseball is absolutely incredible!". @jordanbrink_. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- "Rangers pitcher, viral sensation Chris Nunn inspired by mother's fight". WFAA. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- Fan threw a 96 mph fastball in a speed pitch challenge. Now he's in the MLB - CNN Video, retrieved 2019-09-17
- Grathoff, Pete (August 8, 2019). "Blue Valley grad Nathan Patterson's deal with the A's involved more than a viral video". The Kansas City Star.
- Diamond, Jared. "A Regular Guy Hit 96 MPH in a Speed-Pitch Booth. A Viral Video Turned Him Into a Prospect". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
- Davis, Scott. "A 23-year-old who was working as a landscaper 3 years ago describes the whirlwind journey from going viral in a pitching booth to signing an MLB contract". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
- "Fan who hit 96 on stadium radar gun signs MLB contract". SI.com. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- "'This is real': How A's Nathan Patterson went from sales to slinging fastballs - SFChronicle.com". www.sfchronicle.com. 2019-08-13. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- "Dream come true for A's golden-armed phenom". The Mercury News. 2019-08-03. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Lockard, Melissa. "A's 'roll the dice' with minor-league signing Nathan..." The Athletic. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
- Diamond, Jared. "A Regular Guy Hit 96 MPH in a Speed-Pitch Booth. A Viral Video Turned Him Into a Prospect". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
- "'Great swing': 9-year-old flies to Florida for hitting tips from Alex Bregman". USA TODAY High School Sports. 2019-02-23. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
- "'Great swing': Bregman tweet thrills young fan". MLB.com. Retrieved 2019-08-19.