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View Full Version : Hitting a fastball--what are the upper limits of mph?



skipper5
01-22-2010, 10:15 AM
For this thread, assume a robotic pitcher could deliver consistent mph and location (a dinner-plate sized zone at the center of the plate), with no movement on the pitches. Normal pitching distance.

What are the physical/neurological limits of a pro batter?

--As measured by the % of pitches that they'd square up (hard grounders; line drives; hard-hit flies--yeah, it's subjective) at 90mph/95mph/100mph/105mph


My guess. Hypothetically:
MLB'ers could square up 90% of 90mph fastballs off the robot.
60% of 95mph fastballs off the robot.
20% of 100mph fastballs off the robot.
5% of 105mph fastballs off the robot
[pure luck--close eyes, swing hard]

darivero
01-22-2010, 10:17 AM
I think that once they have timed the pitches coming in on a repetitive nature, it doesn't matter the speed, they will consistentantily square up on it

Harley
01-22-2010, 10:39 AM
I think that Major League batters would do a lot better than that. I am a 57 year old man who is way past his prime and even I can hit a 90 mph fastball from a pitching machine. (I doubt that I could hit one from a real live human pitcher) I would assume that most professional batters could easily hit a 105 mph ball from a machine once they got the timing down.

cps
01-22-2010, 10:53 AM
Are you talking realistic speeds(upper limit) that a human could throw or at what speed is in humanly impossible for a batter to catch up to it? At some point, a ball can be too fast to catch up to, but it may not be possible for a human to throw it that fast.

dominik
01-22-2010, 10:53 AM
Yeah from a machine they could hit 110+ I think. With a machine you have a lot more time since location and speed are quite constant. That means you start the swing at an earlier point of the ball flight.

At the point where yyou start a swing on a machine when you are grooved in you don't even know whether it's a ball or stike on a live pitch.

With live pitches I've seen Mark mcgwire hit a 104 mph pitch from randy into the stands(youtube), so it's possible even with live pitching. I guess with machines those guys could go even higher.

Coach C
01-22-2010, 11:00 AM
my robo-son can hit anything your robo-pitcher can deal.

http://www.break.com/index/first_baseball_hitting_robot.html

songtitle
01-22-2010, 11:31 AM
With live pitches I've seen Mark mcgwire hit a 104 mph pitch from randy into the stands(youtube)

The fastest pitch I see for Randy is 102 in 2004. Do you have the details on this? The only pitchers over 103 mph in a MLB stadium that I know of are Ryan, Feller, Zumaya.

skipper5
01-22-2010, 11:39 AM
My guesstimate are based on my belief that the human ability to react on-time and precisely to a pitched ball falls off very rapidly at the upper ends of the speed spectrum.

In other words, discounting extra movement, a 100mph pitch is much harder to square up than a 95mph because the faster pitch approaches the human limits, mostly having to do with visual acuity--being able to pick the ball up out of the hand, and track an object that is beginning to look like a blur rather than a ball.

The difference, IMO, is not a simple linear increase in difficulty based on a proportional difference in reaction time.

When a pitcher exceed 95mph, each addtl mph means a LOT.

Cannonball
01-22-2010, 11:44 AM
I still hit once in a while for fun. I'm not in great shape and so perhaps Harley is in better shape. Hitting 90 mph is not an easy feat when talking about squaring up. In HS I hit off of a couple that hit high 80s and low 90s with 3 or 4 playing professionally. Heck that was hard then and they were not trying to out think us. Pure gas. So, the average person who isn't swinging it often would struggle with 90 imho. For the pro, 90 would be centered and owned. I'd say that if that robot is as precise as stated in the op, then they'd center 100 more times than not because of the ability to know exactly where the pitch is going to be. I might suggest that after 100 it'd get harder. Why? Anyone remember the first time you hit off of someone who really threw 90+? Oh, we've all hit off of the guy throwing 86 but claiming to throw 90. That first 90+ mph I saw almost made me sick. Then, it was gut check time to step up.

azmatsfan
01-22-2010, 11:53 AM
my robo-son can hit anything your robo-pitcher can deal.

http://www.break.com/index/first_baseball_hitting_robot.html

Bring it on! Here's a prototype of my son. :dance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTqfnGbtOXY

scorekeeper
01-22-2010, 12:05 PM
I still hit once in a while for fun. I'm not in great shape and so perhaps Harley is in better shape. Hitting 90 mph is not an easy feat when talking about squaring up. In HS I hit off of a couple that hit high 80s and low 90s with 3 or 4 playing professionally. Heck that was hard then and they were not trying to out think us. Pure gas. So, the average person who isn't swinging it often would struggle with 90 imho. For the pro, 90 would be centered and owned. I'd say that if that robot is as precise as stated in the op, then they'd center 100 more times than not because of the ability to know exactly where the pitch is going to be. I might suggest that after 100 it'd get harder. Why? Anyone remember the first time you hit off of someone who really threw 90+? Oh, we've all hit off of the guy throwing 86 but claiming to throw 90. That first 90+ mph I saw almost made me sick. Then, it was gut check time to step up.

I think youíre pretty much right on. Since the OP put the criteria of it being a pro batter, I donít see any reason why velocities of even 100 would pose a problem. Would they square up on every single one? I doubt it, but since squaring up on every swing even from a tee is next to impossible, I donít see a problem.

Cannonball
01-22-2010, 12:06 PM
Here is the machine we practice off of :waving:gt:waving:

Coach C
01-22-2010, 01:11 PM
Bring it on! Here's a prototype of my son. :dance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTqfnGbtOXY

very impressive velo for his size :laugh
I have an anti-bat-drag pneumatic pump in transit, after the install lets get some bp in.

Coach C
01-22-2010, 01:20 PM
Here is the machine we practice off of :waving:gt:waving:

Holy cow I bet you could launch balls over the Arch with that!

Harley
01-22-2010, 04:35 PM
I still hit once in a while for fun. I'm not in great shape and so perhaps Harley is in better shape. Hitting 90 mph is not an easy feat when talking about squaring up. In HS I hit off of a couple that hit high 80s and low 90s with 3 or 4 playing professionally. Heck that was hard then and they were not trying to out think us. Pure gas. So, the average person who isn't swinging it often would struggle with 90 imho. For the pro, 90 would be centered and owned. I'd say that if that robot is as precise as stated in the op, then they'd center 100 more times than not because of the ability to know exactly where the pitch is going to be. I might suggest that after 100 it'd get harder. Why? Anyone remember the first time you hit off of someone who really threw 90+? Oh, we've all hit off of the guy throwing 86 but claiming to throw 90. That first 90+ mph I saw almost made me sick. Then, it was gut check time to step up.

Cannonball, I'm sure that you could still hit a 90 mph ball coming out of a machine. The machine my team uses is so accurate that after you see a few pitches, you know exactly where it's going to be the next time and when it's going to get there. However, I doubt I could hit off of a human throwing anything over 80 because I have no idea where that ball is going to end up and I don't know at what speed it's going to be traveling.

omg
01-22-2010, 04:49 PM
It's not the speed. It's the movement. Straight and 90 is no big deal for a really good hitter. 86 and darting is unpleasant.

dominik
01-22-2010, 04:55 PM
The fastest pitch I see for Randy is 102 in 2004. Do you have the details on this? The only pitchers over 103 mph in a MLB stadium that I know of are Ryan, Feller, Zumaya.

Here a vid. I think the commentator say 104. but he could also be saying 100.4 I don't know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdwCN7S5IpY&feature=related

I also think that there where no acurate radar guns used in baseball stadiums in fellers time.

soceric
01-22-2010, 05:44 PM
Somewhere there is a video of Arod hitting off a pitching machine throwing really hard. Upwards of 110 - 120 IIRC. He looked really comfortable. Very smooth swings. Many players use tennis ball machines for vision tracking drills throwing upwards of 150. I'd bet they wouldn't have a problem hitting off of them.

songtitle
01-22-2010, 08:34 PM
I see why they call you cannonball now

Cannonball
01-22-2010, 10:08 PM
I see why they call you cannonball now

Actually, I was very intense when I played. Still am as a coach. I got the nickname after breaking one player's arm and another's leg in the same game. Thus, Cannonball.

That machine I posted is supposed to shoot softballs out. Can you imagine that?

Harley, thanks for believing in me. I just might be able to do it at 90. Still, I'd have to overcome the junk in the trunk. That spare tire would be heck as well.:shhh::dance:shhh:

captlid
01-23-2010, 04:03 PM
Doesn't the ball in jai alai travel almost 180mph as a minimum???? :faint:

korp
01-23-2010, 06:56 PM
If its just the same pitch everytime then you would probably need some serious speed to not hit it .. especially if its straight.

skipper5
01-23-2010, 09:48 PM
Doesn't the ball in jai alai travel almost 180mph as a minimum???? :faint:

Fastest recorded jai alai was 188mph.

Jason Zubak maxes out at 204mph driving a golfball.

SportsScience video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ito3BSO-St8