Publish date:

OUT TO LAUNCH

Author:

FOR HITTERS SEEKING POWER, A SWING THAT SUPPLIES MORE LOFT IS THE THING

WHAT'S THE ideal launch angle for a hitter? To arrive at the answer, let's take away the variables associated with pitch location and type and consider only all fastballs thrown down the middle last season.

A flat bat path was the least effective because it produced more ground balls, which overwhelmingly are outs. While a traditional, slightly upward swing yielded the highest batting average, a vast majority of the hits were singles (the classic line drive to the outfield).

For the modern player, who values slugging percentage over batting average, the answer is to build more loft into the swing.

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

25-27°

10-12°

0-2°

* Players who put the most balls in play in that launch angle window. (Turner tied with three others.)

TYPICAL HITTER*

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

LAUNCH ANGLE

BALLS IN PLAY

BA

SLG

HR

BATTER

0--2°

668

.506

.536

0

MELKY CABRERA

10--12 °

735

.831

1.013

0

MARCELL OZUNA

25--27 °

359

.553

1.792

128

JUSTIN TURNER