Exit Velocity & Launch Angle: Welcome to Major League Baseball

What would you say is the most often discussed talking points among big league hitters? Batting average? Their stance? Who’s the best ping pong player in the clubhouse? Try again. Hang around any Major League batting cage for ten minutes and you might hear the words “launch angle” brought up half a dozen times. From Josh Donaldson discussing his hitting philosophies to Daniel Murphy completely reinventing himself as a hitter based on the Nationals’ findings on how the metric can affect a hitter’s success (Murphy increased his launch angle by 5 degrees from 2016 to 2017 resulting in the biggest offensive output of his career), launch angle has become the newest craze sweeping through Major League Baseball.

The work of MLB Advanced Media has made so much data available in recent years that it was to be expected to see a reactionary change in players’ hitting philosophies. This is, of course, with good reason. Players are now able to see exactly what results can be expected when a batted ball is hit with a certain velocity on any given angle. Many Major League hitters have taken this wealth of knowledge and transferred it to their cage work with the goal of getting their swing on a plane that gives them the most desirable launch angle. As any of these players would attest to, there is no limit to the amount of information that can help you to continue to progress as a player. Understanding how different launch angles can mean the difference between an out and a double is no exception.

The ability to objectively evaluate players on a relatively small sample size is essential to Major League teams and is the sort of analysis that the BaseballCloud app excels in. It can be nearly impossible to know if a high school or college player will be able to handle the increased competition. MLB clubs don’t always know if their Triple-A third baseman that’s batting .320 will be able to produce at the big league level where the lights are that much brighter. But one thing is certain; if a guy is capable of hitting 100 mph lasers, he’s got a pretty good shot at putting up some big numbers. Many decisions made by front office personnel often come down to metrics such as exit velocity when deciding whether to promote a player or not. BaseballCloud puts this same high-level analysis in the hands of players at all levels and better equips them to further their baseball career.

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