We have discussed at great length the necessity of bat speed here at the ABPA. Bat speed can be measured in terms of exit velocity of the baseball off the bat. We take this measurement with a wood bat off of a tee to make sure all of the variables are the same.
What affects the exit velocity?
There are many factors that go into determining the exit velocity of the ball off of the tee. They include bat head velocity, bat weight, size of the person hitting the baseball, as well as where your body is in relation to the baseball on contact. Any one of these factors, when improved, will allow your exit velocity to increase. This is why having a high exit velocity is important: it shows a coach that the factors that go into make a ball jump off of the bat are present in a hitter’s swing.
What is a good exit velocity?
The standard exit velocity I have always used for a Division 1 level hitter is a 90 mph exit velocity. This is a number I have always used as both a college coach and now as a person that develops young hitters. 90 mph, to me, is the minimum number you can reach and have a chance to hit at a high D1 level. Obviously, the higher this number is, the higher level you have the chance to hit at. While at West Virginia, all of our starters were 97+, including several that were in the 102-104 mph range. Jedd Gyorko, who was a 2nd round draft pick in 2010 and will most likely be in the big leagues in 2013 led the team at 104 mph while Vince Belnome, who is currently in AAA with the Tampa Bay Rays was at 103 mph.
The 90 mph mark is very achievable by anyone who has any athleticism at all and that is willing to put in the amount of swings necessary to reach it. I have been able to produce an average increase of 7 mph in a 4 month period on a consistent basis. We currently have several Juniors that are 90 mph plus, including one that has been up to 97 mph. As of January 2012, the highest that any of these players had hit was 82 mph. With the proper training/hitting regiment, weight program and several thousand swings, there is no reason you cannot maximize your bat speed!
Do you know what your ball exit velocity currently is? If you don’t, I HIGHLY recommend you find a coach or a facility who has a Stalker gun, put it behind the tee, and hit into a net in front of you. This is a very simple thing to do if you can get access to a gun, but being able to see where you currently are will help your playing career tremendously! If you currently sit at 82 mph, you know you need to gain 8 mph to even be considered a D1 hitter. Once you know that number, you will have something to consistently strive for!