The Science Behind Hitting an MLB Pitcher


The Science Behind Hitting an MLB Pitcher


As you walk onto the baseball diamond, you hear the constant “CLICK CLACK” from your new Red Under Armour Metal Cleats. As you approach the batter’s box you feel yourself slowly sinking into the ground. Right before you’re about to step in, you notice the potholes that are roughly 4-6 inches in height, but they’re gigantic to you. You extend your bat over the plate to ensure the perfect amount of plate coverage. As the pitcher gets into his windup, you feel your bat and your body and bat wiggling simultaneously with the pitcher as if they are one. The pitcher throws you a fastball painted on the inside corner. You turn on the pitch, and the ball explodes off the bat. If you could not tell what I am talking about, I am talking about hitting a baseball, and which is almost impossible for the average human to do. These MLB hitters are anything but average.

In your head, it may sound pretty easy to hit a 90 mph (miles per hour) fastball. Your coaches tell you to just keep your eyes on the ball and it will sail. The greatest players on Earth get a successful hit three out of ten times. Change your mind yet? Note that 90 mph is the AVERAGE speed. Facing somebody as powerful as New York Yankees pitcher Ardolis Chapman (who threw a record-shattering pitch of 105 mph), would not be as simple. No matter how talented and gifted you are, be prepared to fail in the game of baseball.

Look at the numbers, as hitting a homerun seems insanely crazy. An MLB fastball takes roughly .4 seconds to reach home plate after the pitcher releases the ball, but a batter needs a whole .25 seconds to see the ball and then react to it. Note that the pitcher is throwing from a mere 60.6 foot length, but with his extension and arm reach it turns into a fifty-three foot distance. Scientifically proven, the window to make contact with the ball is nine milliseconds. Once you get the timing done, imagine trying to even tip the pitch. Sounds hard right? These MLB players are some of the most coordinated human beings alive.

There are over twenty types of pitches thrown in the MLB, so don’t be sitting back on the fastball. Some examples include a curveball, slider, and changeup. These pitches can curve away from you, blow right past you, or make you miss so bad that you look silly. No matter how badly you fail or miss, know that the best of the best will do it seven out of ten times.


Sources: Brainscape: