We talk about bat speed as well as the baseball’s exit velocity extensively in our articles. If you are a position player and want to play college or professional baseball, hitting is a MUST (unless you are Omar Vizquel). The saying “If you can hit, you do not sit,” very much holds true because even if you lack a bit of defensive ability, we can find a spot on the field for you.
If you want to be a great hitter, the exit velocity of the baseball during your swing MUST be high. I have coached hitters from Little League all the way up through the Major Leagues and have yet to find a hitter at the highest level who did not have a very high exit velocity reading.
How do you measure exit velocity?
In order to measure your exit velocity, you need a tee, ball, wooden bat and a radar gun (preferably Stalker as it is the most accurate). The person who is holding the radar gun will sit behind the tee (where the catcher sits) so he is able to gun the reading on the ball as it goes out towards the pitcher. The hitter should use a good baseball and a wooden bat so the variables are always the same. If you use an old baseball, it may be soft and not get as high of a reading. A metal bat may or may not get a higher reading, so using a wood bat each time will allow you to see your progress and comparison to others that use wood bats.
What does the exit velocity measure?
The exit velocity measures your bat head speed as well as the efficiency and power of your swing mechanics. It is possible to have a ton of bat speed yet have a low exit velocity because you are not swinging with the proper swing mechanics. For example, if you chop down on the ball, you are not hitting the ball squarely, which means you will not be able to reach your maximum velocity potential until you change that part of your swing. The same goes for someone who has a great swing yet has little bat speed. That person must increase his bat speed to increase his exit velocity.
What is a good exit velocity?
I have measured the exit velocity of every hitter I have worked with since I began coaching at West Virginia 6 years ago. The best hitters on our team (whether it was at WVU or working with elite 17U players) ALWAYS had the highest exit velocity numbers. At WVU, we had two current MLB players (Jedd Gyorko and Vince Belnome) in our line up. The were respectively 104 and 103 MPH. All of our other starters were between 98 and 102.
While working and developing high school players, I have never had a player move on to D1 who’s exit velocity was under 90 MPH. As a player, if you can reach that milestone, you have a CHANCE to play D1 baseball. There are players that are under that number who are recruited, but it will be tough to hit at the D1 level without an exit velocity in the Mid-90’s or above.
You should measure your exit velocity as not only a gauge to see where you are in comparison with your competition and where you want to go, but also to use as a measuring stick to see if you are improving or not. If your exit velocity is not where it needs to be, you need to put in work on both your swing mechanics and your overall explosiveness.