If you’re involved in the game of baseball as a player, coach, parent or fan, then there is no doubt that you have heard the term “Exit Velocity” in recent years. But what is exit velocity? There is often confusion as to the exact meaning of the term. In this article we will clear that up for you, as well as show you how to measure exit velocity, why you would want to measure it, and what is the average exit velocity by age.
What is Exit Velocity?
Exit velocity in baseball is the speed the ball is traveling after it hits and leaves a hitter’s bat.
It is not the same as bat speed. Bat speed is the speed of the bat as it is being swung. Bat speed will typically be slower than the exit velocity of the ball itself, but they do have a correlated relationship. The faster your bat speed is, the more likely you are to have a high exit velocity.
Why is Exit Velocity Measured?
As baseball continues to become more analytical and data driven, newer metrics, such as this one, are being measured and used for a variety of reasons. The main purpose for measuring exit velocity is to determine a player’s potential for hitting with power. Hitters with high exit velocity readings have the ability to hit the ball harder, and possibly farther, than those with lower numbers. It is said that for every additional 1 mph of exit velocity, the ball will travel an extra 5 feet.
Is it a perfect predictor of if a player will put up power numbers and hit a lot of home runs? Absolutely not. While being able to hit the ball at a high exit velocity is an essential part of being a consistent power hitter, it is one small piece of the puzzle. A hitter’s ability to make consistent contact against pitchers, square the ball up on the barrel of the bat, and hit the ball in the air (launch angle) are also major factors in their potential for putting up power numbers.
Who Uses Exit Velocity Data?
Baseball coaches at all levels, Major League scouts, and Major League front office executives use exit velocity data to evaluate players. If you ever attend a try out or showcase event, odds are that your exit velocity will be recorded.
How to Measure Exit Velocity
What you will need:
Some variables to consider:
- The exit velocities that you are seeing when you watch a Major League game are off of a pitched ball. Recording exit velocity off of a pitched ball will add approximately 5-15 mph to the reading.
- Not all baseballs are created equal. A brand new baseball is going to give you a higher exit velocity than an old, beat up one. High quality baseballs, like a professional grade ball, will also give you better readings than balls of a lesser quality.
- Radar guns are also not all created equal. I’ve seen two guns operating simultaneously that were consistently 4-5 mph off from each other. While Stalker Sport guns are the choice of professional scouts and likely the most accurate guns on the market, I highly recommend the Pocket Radar Ball Coach. It is much more affordable, and has routinely been shown to perform near the level of a Stalker. It’s also extremely user friendly.
- Some batting tees create more drag on the ball and bat than others. Pro-style tees like the Tanner Tee, are designed to let the ball sit up high on a flexible perch that creates very little drag. It may mean the difference of a couple MPH.
Setting it up:
- You do not need a full length batting cage or an open field to record exit velocity. Hitting into a screen or net will also give you an accurate measurement.
- It will be easiest if you have a helper with you to hold the radar gun and do the recording. If you are alone, you will need to find a way to secure the radar gun so that it is pointing toward the flight path that your ball will be traveling on.
- Have your helper set up a few feet behind you, so that you are hitting the ball directly away from them. Make sure he or she is at a safe distance and will not be hit by your bat on your follow through. If you are hitting into a net or screen, your helper can also choose to position their self behind the screen, and facing you, so that you are hitting directly toward them. Be sure to check the screen for any holes before you hit into the screen with your helper behind it!
- Set a ball up on the tee and get in position to hit.
- Have your helper point the radar gun, and prepare to record the ball exit velocity, as instructed by to the radar gun’s manual.
- Swing and hit the ball as hard as you can.
- The number that pops up on the radar gun is your exit velocity!
- Repeat the process several times to try to find your average and high readings.
So I Measured my Exit Velocity, NOW WHAT? (Average exit velocity by age)
Now that you know your exit velocity, you can see where you sit among your peers.
Here’s the breakdown of what is considered an exceptional exit velocity among each age group:
- Ages 8-10: 55-65 mph
- Ages 11-13: 60-70 mph
- Ages 14-15: 75-80 mph
- Ages 15-16 (High School JV): 80 mph aluminum/ 75 mph wood
- Age 16-18 (High School Varsity): 90 mph aluminum/ 85 mph wood
- Collegiate: 95 mph aluminum/ 90 mph wood
- Professional: 100 mph + wood
How do you measure up? Need to boost your exit velocity?