MLB fastballs average 91 mph off of the hand and 83 mph at the plate. For example, the average exit speed in Major League Baseball is 103 mph. Bats can travel at speeds ranging from 70 to 85 miles per hour. Wood bats have a slower exit velocity than non-wood bats. Metal bats tend to produce balls that fly faster than those with wood cores.
The fastest pitch thrown in major league history was 105.6 mph by Ted Gray on May 30, 1950. The slowest pitch recorded hit ball four by a pitcher who did not give up any hits was 87.3 mph by Bud Hollowell on April 19, 1935. That's less than one out of every 20 pitches thrown in major league history!
A batter can typically reach first base if a ball is hit between the infielders' legs or behind them. A batter can usually go to second base if a ball is hit between their legs but not behind them. A ball hit into the hole between second and third base can often result in a triple play. A ball hit into the corner between third and home can result in a home run or an error if the fielder doesn't cover the base completely.
In addition to batting practice, there are several other ways players get ready for a game. In order to get ready for game time, pitchers will work on their mechanics in the bullpen before games.
MLB fastballs average 91 mph off of the hand and 83 mph at the plate. For example, the average exit speed in Major League Baseball is 103 mph. Bats can travel at speeds ranging from 70 to 85 miles per hour. Wood bats have a slower exit velocity than non-wood bats.
The brain's messages can take roughly 25 milliseconds to pulse through the hitter's body and get his legs moving. The swing lasts 150 milliseconds. A fastball with backspin—up to 1800 rpm—arrives at the bat. A hitter must reverse the rotation of the ball such that it exits the bat with backspin in order to hit the ball out of the park.
When it comes to turning a hit into a home run, every 1 mph increase in swing speed adds around 8 ft to the distance. Terry Bahill of the University of Arizona discovered that the maximum bat weight before swing speed reduces is roughly 41 ounces. However, he believes that a pro player's optimal bat weight is lower, in the 31-to-32-ounce range.
For a point of reference, the average major league exit velocity per at bat is about 68 mph. The fastest recorded batted ball in Major League History was hit in 2012 by Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals. It traveled 95.5 miles per hour (153 km/h).
The maximum distance that a baseball can travel before it hits the ground is only about 150 feet (46 m), but most balls are hit between 90 and 100 miles per hour (145 and 160 kph). So even though the maximum distance that a ball can be hit is quite small, very few balls are hit at or above this speed.
As far as how hard a ball can be hit, there's no real limit except for your arm strength. A ball can be hit as fast as 100 miles per hour (160 kph) if you have enough power behind it. But most balls are hit below this speed because they get out of the strike zone often.
So basically, harder equals better. Or at least it should do.
There are several factors that go into determining how hard a ball is hit. Weight plays a role: the heavier the bat, the more power you can produce.
A fastball traveling at 100 mph takes less than 400 milliseconds to reach home plate. The swing itself lasts around 150 milliseconds. Despite their popularity, 100-mph fastballs are still uncommon—rare enough that you won't see them in batting practice on a daily basis.
The fastest pitch thrown by any major league player has been 108 mph, set by Tampa Bay's J.D. Martinez on April 22, 2015. He threw the ball from a four-point stance, using only his arm and not his shoulder. The ball traveled 1 foot 11 inches into the strike zone when it reached home plate!
It is possible to hit a baseball thrown at 100 miles per hour or faster. The key is to recognize the pitch is fast and get ready for it. Hitting such a ball is difficult because there is so little time to react to the pitch.
In addition, there is no way to know how fast the ball will travel until it reaches the plate. So even if you are prepared, you can't predict where it will go. This means you have no choice but to try to hit it wherever it goes.
There have been several pitchers who have thrown 100-mph fastballs in their careers. No one has ever been struck out by one of these pitches. Instead, they tend to frighten hitters away from the plate by being too fast for them to control.
During our Science of Baseball discussion, Dr. Nathan also emphasized that while each mph of pitch speed contributes 1 ft. to the distance, each mph of bat speed adds 1.2 mph of exit speed. Bat speed is important because exit speed is important. Each mile of bat speed increases the exit speed by around 1.2 miles. @PoBGuy on Twitter pointed out that this means that a batter's "average" speed is actually about 15 mph, which is faster than most people think.
Here are the speeds of some common pitches:
Fastball: 93-96 mph
Slider: 78-82 mph
Curveball: 72-77 mph
Changeup: 65-70 mph
Spinners: 52-58 mph
All of these numbers include velocity variation from pitch to pitch and location variation depending on how far back the pitcher releases the ball. For example, if he throws the same pitch at the same location every time, then it would go by him more quickly.
Even though all of these pitches vary in speed, it takes about the same amount of time to get from the starting point to home plate with any of them. This is because all of the pitches have so much power that they can't be caught up in the zone too long or they'll hit a batter.