Baseball is one of, if not the most, detail-oriented sports out there. When looking at baseball statistics it can start to feel a bit overwhelming. There is a tracking method for everything in the sport so that stat books are filled with different aspects from both sides of the plate. One that sticks out as crucial to scouts is exit velocity, which measures the exit speed of the ball as it comes off the bat.
It is one of the most important metrics because exit velocity measures the most exciting parts of baseball: hard-hit balls. This is imperative for batters at the next level because it speeds up the defensive player's required reaction time, while also expanding the range and height the ball can reach.
Today, we will be breaking down exit velo by age. We will do that by evaluating how it varies by age, training to elevate your EV, why it ties to success and, to finish it off, how BRUCE BOLT can help.
Understanding Exit Velo by Age
Exit Velocity changes due to a lot of different factors. They can all be summarized into four main categories: strength, speed, bat speed, and launch angle. A good way to look at it is exit velocity is the batter's version of a pitcher's spin rate. They both measure after being released/hit and can differ based on all four of those factors.
Role of Strength and Speed
Just like in any other sport, the speed of play and difficulty level rise as you age. Two obvious reasons are that as you grow up you become stronger and faster. Those factors make it so that you can build up better kinetic energy to whip your bat around and hit the ball on the sweet spot while becoming faster in your reaction time to harder-thrown pitches. Also, as you get older you can start to strength train which as you would expect, increases your strength and potential EV.
Crucial Factors Influencing Exit Velo Growth
As we explained above, when you get stronger and faster your bat speed and launch angle start to improve as well. These are crucial factors in improving your exit velocity. Here is a closer look at bat speed and launch angle:
- Bat Speed: Bat speed measures how fast your bat travels through its arc when swinging. When looking at the players in the MLB who have high exit velocities, it is almost certain that they will have the highest bat speeds. This is because a high bat speed increases power. It doesn’t guarantee that you will become a slugger, but it sure is a great place to start.
- Launch Angle: Your launch angle represents the vertical angle at which the ball leaves a player’s bat. The reason this is a crucial factor to understand is that launch angle can determine the difference between a home run and a ground ball. Launch angle affects whether you get over the top of the ball or under it, how high the ball will travel, and how far. Finding the sweet spot in your launch angle is crucial, which is typically 45°.
Role of Exit Velo in Baseball Success
For position players in today’s game, becoming a great defensive baseball player is important and looked at equally to being a great hitter. But, no matter if it is a professional or college coach, scouts prefer players who can reach a desired exit velocity. This isn’t surprising considering when you look at the top-10 MLB leaders in batting average, home runs, and extra-base hits four of them were also ranked inside the top 10 in terms of exit velocity.
Benchmarks at Different Levels
Everyone grows at different rates and will grow into their swing at different times in their baseball careers. But, since we have the technology to track average exit velocities, here are benchmarks for different age groups and playing levels when it comes to EVs.
- Ages 8-10: 46-55 MPH
- Ages 11-13: 56-65 MPH
- Ages 14-15: 75-80 MPH
High School Players
- JV (15-16): 80 MPH aluminum / 75 MPH wood
- Varsity (15-18): 90 MPH aluminum / 85 MPH wood
College Baseball and Professional Baseball
- College Level: 95 MPH aluminum / 90 MPH wood
- Professional: 100+ MPH wood
Analysis of Exit Velocity from Last Season
Some players in the MLB unleash havoc on the ball. When taking a glance at the numbers from last season, you can tell that having a higher exit velocity is something that directly correlates with success in the big leagues. Player development can become much simpler if you can swing the bat fast and hit the ball hard. When putting together all of the factors of exit velocity it does show that you can make an impact sooner once you eclipse the minor leagues. Being in the 90th percentile, however, takes time. This past season 24 batters qualified for the select group. Among those were the NL and AL MVPs Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shohei Ohtani. Safe to say that is pretty good company to keep.
Improving Exit Velo: Tips and Techniques
Just like important characteristics of any other sport, if you train hard enough and utilize the right drills and tools you can increase your exit velocity. These are some training drills and tools that everyone could use, but not that this is not an exhaustive list of ways to improve your EV. It is always good to experiment with different methods yourself and find what works best for you.
Training exit velo includes two things: the weight room and hitting drills. When hitting the gym you want to focus on movements that increase strength in your lower body, core, and grip/forearm. Ways to do that include squats/deadlifts, core exercises, and farmer's carries. Useful hitting drills usually work your bat speed and launch angle. Some specific drills that we have found useful are using a weighted bat or a donut, front toss, and tee work to make sure that you are squaring up the ball correctly and efficiently.
In the advanced technology world that we live in there is so much out there that can aid in telling you if your EV is growing. Technology like pocket radars, radar guns, and Blast Motion will get the job done. A pocket radar has proven to show the same or even better accuracy than radar guns. Yet, radar guns do have longer range to capture the ball data you are trying to get. Blast Motion is useful because it slips onto the end of your bat to give you accurate swing metrics and analyze performance. This allows you to measure EV while practicing alone.
Importance of Ball Data & Proper Equipment
As we previously stated, you do not need to have all of this equipment and ball data to find success. Yet, considering we live in a world where it is so accessible, we recommend you take advantage of it. The importance of data is the in-depth view it can give you to correct your swing. The eye test is becoming very outdated, and these new tools allow you to more accurately track your ball exit speed.