Launch Angles, Exit Velos, etc… What You Need to Know – Part 2

Today’s article by Bahram Shirazi represents Part 2 (click here for Part 1) on how Statcast data coming out of the MLB stadiums is changing the way coaches and players are preparing for the game…

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)

Trout Image

In Part 2 of this article on Launch Angles and Exit Velos, we’re going to get a little more into the details and review which launch angles are likely to generate what types of hits.  The data MLB is accumulating is talking, so we better listen.

Until Statcast started keeping track of all the info we didn’t really know which angles generated which types of hits.  But now we are starting to understand.  Here is a quick summary of all 2016 at-bats for several notable MLB players (Cabrera, Cano, Langoria, Murphy, Ortiz and Trout) and their corresponding statistics:

Summary EV vs. LA Data 2

It’s not surprising that the launch angles for different types of hits are within a relatively tight range. It’s pure physics after all.  Basically, the data says when you hit at a certain angle and a certain exit velocity, this happens….  The information is too powerful to ignore and players and coaches are starting to pay attention.  Here is a different way to present the data, which might be helpful:

  • -5 – -10 degrees → Groundouts (125 ft)
  • 7 – 12 degrees → Singles (250 ft)
  • 15 – 20 degrees → Doubles (325 ft)
  • 25 – 30 degrees → Home Runs (400 ft)
  • 35+ degrees → Flyouts / Pop outs (325 / 150 ft.)

Now, let’s revisit a baseball’s trajectory.  As I covered in Part 1 of this article, a baseball’s trajectory is pretty much predictable once it leaves the bat.

L Angle vs. Exit Velo 2

Using a mathematical model that accounts for everything from weather, gravity, exit velo, launch angle and a baseball’s aerodynamics Dr. Alan Nathan’s (from University of Illinois) trajectory model predicts with a high degree of certainty how far a ball travels on a straight line before it lands.  Here is a summary of launch angles, exit speeds and distances traveled in feet (numbers in the middle of the table):

Distance Travelled Colors

** Source: Dr. Alan Nathan, University of Illinois

Since most hitting instruction is done inside a batting cage, having a good understanding of this information is extremely important.  It might surprise most coaches, but a line drive to the upper back corner of a typical cage (70 ft. L x 10 ft. H) is a mid- to high single digit launch angle from the batter’s box.  With an 85 mph exit velo for a typical high school senior, that ball will travel approximately 100-150 ft. (range marked in blue above) before it touches the ground.  So, if you want your players to bounce the ball in the infield, that’s a good spot to aim for.  If you want them to do damage, you need to tell them to put the ball higher up at steeper angles (range marked in green).

The big question is can you train players for launch angles.  I believe the simple answer is yes.  With some understanding of basic trigonometry, exit velos and launch angles, you can train for launch angles.  But I also believe that a big part of this is awareness, both for players and coaches.  The data is talking so we better start listening.

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To learn more about our hitting programs for baseball players please feel free to contact us at 845-712-5415.   You can also reach Mike Rozema directly on his cell at (201) 247-6793 or on email at rozemabaseball@gmail.com.

 

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