Home › Studies and Demonstrations › Hitting Studies
  • 4/9/2015 added Backspin section
  • 4/9/2015 archived dead link to Sawicki study
  • 4/7/2015 added 2009 home run launch angles
  • 11/24/2013 added Nathan study on grips
  • 2/14/2011 initial post

Studies About Baseball and Fastpitch Hitting and Swings

We have accumulated a list of important studies related to hitting all in one handy reference.

Bat Speed, Exit Speed, and Distance

According to a Daniel Russell, Kettering University, Physics Study, non-wood bats may be 8mph faster, because of lighter weight (can be swung faster for more bat speed), and more "trampoline effect".

The MLB ball exit speed list from Hit Tracker Online.

The Univ of Florida Baseball Home Run Simulator shows the required exit speeds to hit a baseball for a given distance.

[dead link] The Cal study by Sawicki and Hubbard [archived] concludes:
There is an optimal strategy for achieving maximimum range [of a batted ball]. For a typical fastball the batter should undercut the ball by 2.65 cm [see note] and swing upward at an angle 0.1594 rad [9 degrees].

Note: 2.65 cm is approx. 1 inch. However, reader bbrages at BBF pointed out that the authors were measuring the distance from the centerline of the bat to the centerline of the ball. This point of contact is approximately 1/2 inch below the centerline of the ball.

Per HIT F/X and summarized by David Kagan, University of California–Chico, the average launch angle for all home runs hit in April 2009 was 29 degrees, which fell in a range between 15 degrees and 45 degrees.


Even though curveballs are thrown 10-15 mph slower than the average fastball, they will travel farther when hit, because they have 30% more backspin.

The Cal study by Sawicki and Hubbard [archived] concludes:
the batted backspin for the fastball is 30% smaller than that of the curve ball because the pitched fastball has backspin that must be reversed during batting, whereas the curve ball has initial topspin that is augmented. This larger backspin for the curve ball increases the optimal range by 4.0 m.

Bat MOI etc.

ASMI study on bat MOI Dr. Fleisig tested 17 college baseball and 17 college fastpitch players (aluminum bats)

Biomechanics of the Swing

Human Performance Techologies study by Welch, Banks, Cook, and Draovitch in November 1995 Hitting a Baseball: Biomechanical Description [PDF , Google Quick View]
This action defines two components of motion: rotational and linear [an early point of confusion]

Impact of the Grip

Dr Alan Nathan's study on the effect of the grip on the bat.
for a typical ball-bat collision in the barrel of the bat, the batter's grip plays absolutely no role in determining the ultimate fate of the ball.

In fact, the batter could just as well let go of the bat just prior to meeting the ball and it would make no difference to the ball