Launch Angle and Ball off Bat Data – How To Use It?

There is so much hype (and semi-hysteria) over launch angle data. It’s exciting, it’s new, it’s interesting. The ability to get accurate data for ball off bat is also producing theories and new ways to look at hitting. You combine the launch angle data with other key data points like exit velo, spin rate, point of contact, etc. and opportunities to improve hitting performance definitely emerge.

The MLB has had this data now for several years, and thus certain ideas have emerged as to what the numbers mean and where you should strive to be. More and more colleges are now starting to acquire this data from newly purchased systems, and want to know how to use the data. Based on several discussions with coaches familiar with the data, here’s a few things we are hearing:

MLB players have faster bat speeds

First, MLB players are generally going to have faster bat speeds and produce higher exit velo numbers than college players – one could say, that’s why they are there. Second, exit velo needs to be combined with player generated exit velo to fully understand how hard one can hit the ball. In the MLB, plenty of players have exit velo at 95+ MPH, but most college players will be more like 90 MPH. Third, optimum launch angle at the MLB level is now considered 25 to 30 degrees with a spin rate of 1500 to 2500.

Matching lower exit velo with a lower launch angle at the college level

These levels combined with exit velo at 95+ MPH make sense – but they do NOT make sense for the college players with lower exit velocity. Therefore, matching this lower exit velo with a lower launch angle will likely be more appropriate at the college level, and produce more line drives. This is what the college coaches now obtaining this data for the first time need to look at – finding the optimum for their players based on their unique swing characteristics. This is so much FUN!!