What Effect Do Bat Metrics Have On Batted Ball Metrics?
The power of the technology that we have currently is between the links the can be make between them. We can do this a smaller scale without being in a lab by using different technologies like KVest, Blast Motion, and Rapsodo. Which is what was conducted with 10 players in the Month of October. We had an even split of 5 high school and 5 college players who volunteered their time to come by and test out these three technologies. The hope was that we could be able to find different pieces of the hitting swing that may help us gain a better understanding what we should be teaching. I think it will be best to break down the articles into smaller segments because of the size of the information that will presented here.
Huge shout out to all three of these companies they have been amazing to deal with in this entire process. Helping in anyway that they could along the way.
Players took 10 swings a piece for two rounds of hitting. We took swings off of a tee to eliminate some of the moving variables that can cause some issues in studies like this. After going through the data we had to remove swings for misreads on any device or discrepancies in the information it was determined that we had just below 150 total swings were used for the sample (I realize this is a small sample). The tee was placed at 33 inches off the ground.
The overall goal of the examination was to look at the interaction between the body, the bat, and batted ball. We will also dig deeper into looking at differences that may have occurred within the two different groups. By no means is anything that follows 100% true or 100% accurate but rather I will not let perfect stand in the way of good. The general principal is that through the examination of these metrics and graphs that follow we will start to consider different points of view and look at what might be to be learned throughout the article.
The results that are displayed below are the first iteration of this type of test. Many will continue to do work like this but now the idea if and I am excited to share the following ideas with everyone.
Batted Ball Metrics (Rapsodo) Vs. Bat Metrics (Blast Motion)
When you see all of the data placed together it can be overwhelming to figure out where to dig in first. The start was examining what could be gathered from the bat and the resulting external results. We see that as the Exit Velocity is gathered from the Rapsodo that we see a small trend of the best batted balls being hit at lower attack angles. This could be for several reasons but most importantly we see most of the best hit baseballs occurring at a more positive angle. As examined in other articles their could be a correlation between Attack Angle Exit Velocity and Launch Angle. This should be examined further.
The attack angle is an interested metrics to examine because there is a lot that is really unknown about it but there is a little more that we see happen when digging through the information.
The graph to the left shows a bump in the amount of spin that gets put on the baseball when attack angles of ranging within the 0–5 range to create more spin than might be useful at lower Launch Angles. This needs to be examined further to get more information trying to correlate the two of them. But in the mean time with what we have here we need to dig deeper to see what hitters can do to manipulate spin rate. This graph could also lead us to think about those balls that sit between 0–5 degrees and how or why they may getting over spun?
We do hit a little something here when it comes to estimated batted ball distance and Attack Angle. A stronger correlation is present in this graph that we should at least take note of. It seems again that balls that are struck at angles 5 to 15 degrees are the batted balls that go the furthest. We had no hitter swing with an attack angle higher than 17 degrees so seeing how higher angles may effect batted balls also warrants a look.
To add more context to the Attack Angle and distance discussion we do see a trend upward as we raise our attack angle we do see a bump in launch angle. This trend is another place that may need to be examined further as we see the ball get hit into the air more we also see the swing move slightly more upward. Obviously we need to be swinging up if we want to hit the ball into the air. What does the study indicate from that point if view?
We do see a smaller connection when it comes to Launch Angle and Attack Angle. This again is a place where we need to examine contact any from a point of contact perspective which could help us to get a fuller picture of the metric.
Summary Of Attack Angle
- Best struck baseballs between 5°-15° positive in terms of distance.
- Positive Attack Angles did indicate getting the baseball into the air more often.
- As we will discuss later we probably want to be around 2000–2500 rpms on batted baseballs we see that our sample pointed that baseballs batted with less than a 5° seem to add more spin to the baseball.
- Again we find that Exit Velocity has a trend line that points to having a high Exit Velo with lower attack angles.
- Lastly we need to dig into this topic more especially when it relates to individualized results of players, how location of the pitch interacts with Attack Angle and what would a larger sample or elite sample indicate to us?
- This is off of a tee, so further examination could take place when looking at pitched baseballs.
I have written about this topic before so I will leave the link here for those interested. We continued to find the Attack Angle to Bat Speed correlation which seems point to something that is in need of more examination.
Vertical Bat Angle
Along with Attack Angle we also see Vertical Bat Angle appear in the Blast Metrics. Few things have been written or examined when it comes to Vertical Bat Angle. Which is the angle of at barrel at contact. I thought that going into this examination we could find out something that may give us more information on what we need the Vertical Bat Angle to be when hitting the baseball.
For the information we see here we must remember that this pitch is belt high or slightly below that (33 inches off the ground). We see that the furthest baseballs that are hit have a trend on being at lower Vertical Bat Angles. Meaning that the bat is “flatter” or not as steep at contact. Most if not all of the baseballs hit over 200 feet are hit with lower Vertical Bat Angles.
Then the thought was maybe if we don’t see the distance correlate maybe we can view Vertical Bat Angle and see how it may manipulate the spin off of the bat. I thought prior to this we may see drastic splits when it comes to Vertical Bat Angle and how the balls are spun off the bat. Again though we find that we probably need to dig a little bit deeper when it comes to trying to manipulate Spin Rate off of batted balls and Vertical Bat Angle. We do see a small bump on baseballs that are hit between -30 and -25 with baseballs getting over spun potentially. The sample does not give a great indication as to what might be the best route but we get a small idea.
Our results indicate that better hit baseballs that are waist high tend to point to a flatter barrel at contact. If we are aiming for spin to hoover around 2000–2500 then we want a flatter barrel at contact.
Vertical Bat Angle Summary
- We get need to dig deeper into Vertical Bat Angle specifically looking at:
- The influence pitch location has on the metric.
- The influence that a larger sample may bring to it.
- How does contact point play into this metric?
- If we find indications of proper metric bounds what can we do to train this?
- Lastly I leave with the question of what do the different vertical bat angles look like?
Lastly before moving away from Vertical Bat Angle I took the time to examine the interaction between Attack Angle and Vertical Bat Angle which is below. After examining we can take a peek at the positive Attack Angles and see that flatter barrel paths can be made with positive Attack Angles in the swing. More negative paths indicate that you may have a limited amount of ranges to hit through. This may influence the amount of adaptability within your swing.
Spin Rate Vs. Distance & Launch Angle
The indication from the graph above shows that baseballs that are launched at angles below 10 degrees are often less spun than those hit at higher degrees. This makes sense because baseballs that are hit into the air are often struck on the base of the baseball. Which would mean that the baseball would get spun more into the air. I have linked Dr. Nathans article on Optimizing the swing here if you would like to read more.
Distance Vs. Spin Rate
There is a trend toward seeing baseballs that are spun more toward having more distance on them. This can be for several reasons. But we find that baseballs that are hit at lower distances have less spin put on the baseball. I hypothesize that baseballs hit over 300 feet would have around 2000–2500 rpms on spin on them. We kind of knew though that spin was needed to potentially make balls go at their optimal distance. So maybe we can find something when we look at spin in a different way?
We also found that throughout the study Hand Speed has a significant impact on bat speed which we have written about before. We now need to move off of this topic and consider what we could do to look at this from a hitter perspective and what can we do to train this type of movement? Or if this movement is even worth training? Or if it is a result of other factors in the swing?
Much more than just bat speed goes into Exit Velocity into the baseball. But it still considers an examination because the idea that if you can get as much energy as possible into the Baseball Bat, you can then transfer that energy into the baseball itself. This logically makes sense. But the results are different for multiple reasons. I won’t get into those here but. You can not that it does seem that the more bat speed you produce the slightly higher Exit Velocity you can create.
I understand that all the above is a small examination into ideas and metrics of hitting a baseball. The biggest thing to take away from the graphs and ideas above is the fact that hitting is a very fluid situation. That hitters can produce similar results doing drastically different things. The results I have posted here are for you to examine and consider what they may mean for you and your hitters. The idea behind all this is that it gets you thinking. It makes you consider your own points of view. It gets you to think about hitting while looking at what simple pieces of technology can do for you.
This is only part of one of a research study that included KVest, Rapsodo, and Blast Motion. All three pieces of technology provided metrics which are analyzed to find trends that might indicate a piece of understanding that may want to get examined further. As you have read the first part of the series focused on linking Blast Motion with Rapsodo. We will have a larger focus on using KVest to linked together these technologies later this week.