Home runs are one of the most exciting moments in a baseball game. It’s the thing that the audience waits for with great eagerness and it’s what players are looking to strike whenever the opportunity presents. However, the thing about home runs is that they are difficult to come by. It is to note that we are talking here about the conventional home run where the ball is hit out of play. If we look at average home runs per game in MLB, the numbers are just around a little above 1 per game. It makes us wonder why hitting home runs is so hard. To understand that, here’s a look at why it’s difficult to hit a home run in baseball.
Pitching speed – When it comes to hitting a home run, the skills and strength of the batter alone may not be enough. The speed of the ball thrown by the pitcher is also a key determinant of the eventual outcome. The sweet spot could be pitching speed of 90 to 95 miles per hour, which will increase the probability of hitting a home run. Higher speeds can also work, but then anything above 100 mph will make it difficult for the batter to make perfect contact.
Sweet spot of baseball bat – This is the area of the baseball bat that will create the max thrust on the ball. The sweet spot on a baseball bat is located between 5-inch and 7-inch from the bottom part of the bat. When the ball hits the sweet spot of a baseball bat, it creates the least amount of vibration. In essence, most of the power of the incoming ball and striking bat is effectively utilized to create optimal thrust. This in turn helps the ball to travel longer distances.
Ball’s trajectory – There’s a well-defined formula for calculating trajectory, which is used for rockets, missiles, spaceships, etc. As per research, it has been found that a ball with trajectory of 25 to 30 degrees will be able to travel the max possible distance. Anything lower will result in a grounder whereas at higher angles, the eventual result will be a pop-up.
Composition of wood – Baseball bats can be made using various types of wood. However, the preferred wood for making baseball bats is Maple, which is a dense wood. It is not only durable, but also has more pop to it. This will definitely be advantageous in hitting a home run. It is also important to note that wood composition may vary even when the same type of wood is used for creating two bats. It is possible that bats coming from different Maple tress may have different levels of rebound.
Wind speed – This is often overlooked, but wind has a major role to play in home runs. Research studies show that even a mild breeze of 5 mph may help the ball to travel an extra 18 to 19 feet. The opposite is also true, in that, the distance travelled will be less when the ball is facing headwinds.
As is clear from above, various factors come into play when a home run is scored. This is why scoring a home run in baseball is not an easy task. It takes years of experience and favorable conditions to make a home run possible.