A great baseball pitching machine is a unique device that can go a long way in helping you further your baseball career. Nowadays, many machines now have advanced features that make them much more conducive to different aspects of your game.
Why buy a baseball pitching machine?
Becoming a great hitter takes more than simply buying a baseball bat and showing up to the game. It takes hours of practice and repetition so that your swing is broken down to a science. Investing in a quality baseball pitching machine will allow you to practice batting whenever you want without enlisting the help of a pitcher. As such, baseball pitching machines are one of the most powerful training tools that can be purchased, regardless of your age or skill level.
What should you look for in a pitching machine?
- Adjustable Velocity: As a baseball player, you already understand the nuances of the game. The ball travels at varying velocities, and it’s your job to gauge the speed so that you will know exactly what kind of pitch is coming. These machines allow you to simulate real pitching speeds.
- Portability: Baseball players often travel to different cities and regions to play games and participate in tournaments. Most baseball pitching machines are now incredibly portable, which means that you can have batting practice no matter where you travel. You can easily store them in vehicles.
- Versatility: With some pitching machines, you can use several different types of baseballs. This includes softballs, plastic baseballs, and regulation baseballs used in Major League Baseball. Some of the more versatile machines are also adjustable in terms of the height and speed of the pitch.
How fast should a baseball pitching machine be?
Pitch speed is an important factor when you’re at bat. However, speed combined with your distance from the pitching machine will ultimately determine how quickly you’ll need to react in order to hit the ball. High school pitchers usually throw at 70 to 85 miles per hour, so finding a pitching machine that can simulate these speeds is ideal for older players. Keep in mind that even a 50-mph baseball pitching machine can throw some heat when used at closer distances than a regulation pitcher’s mound. Younger players can generally get great practice from machines that pitch balls at 15 to 30 mph and that pitches softer balls.
Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack
This baseball pitching machine's adjustable features and variety of pitching styles will help you improve your game.
Pros: Featuring an adjustable design that can simulate right- and left-handed curves, sliders, fastballs, and other throws, the Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack is one of the best available pitching machines for serious baseball players. Its three-wheel design is perfect for a wide range of ball speeds and gives the hitter a nice sense of timing and location so that they can identify the velocity of the ball and make the necessary adjustments. The machine also features adjustable knobs to raise or lower the height and speed of the pitches, making it a great option for players of all sizes and skill levels.
Cons: If you take one look at this product’s price, you can tell that this is far from a toy. As such, those seeking a beginner’s pitching machine for a young child will likely not require what this baseball pitching machine offers for a good many years.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a reliable pitching machine that’s built to take plenty of use and abuse, this one is your best bet. As such, it’s a great option for Little League coaches looking to improve their players’ batting. That being said, while this product’s price tag isn’t for the faint of heart, its performance and design are well worth the cost.
Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Baseball Pitching Machine
This portable baseball pitching machine is great for kids who are learning baseball.
Pros: This compact and portable baseball pitching machine is a great choice for kids learning how to play baseball. Its red pitching indicator is a great safety feature, and its adjustable height settings allow your child to practice fielding ground balls as well as batting. While this is not a powerful product meant for adults or teenagers, this budget-friendly pitching machine is great for providing hours of fun for the young baseball fanatics in your life. That is, assuming you have enough D batteries on hand.
Cons: This is far from the most powerful baseball pitching machine on the market, so if your kids are in high school or middle school, chances are they have already outgrown the usefulness of this product. That being said, it’s still an excellent option for a young child’s first pitching machine.
Bottom Line: Since this baseball pitching machine lacks speed and power, it’s not the best option to use on windy days. However, if the sun’s shining outside and your kid is aching to put their plastic baseball bat to good use, this pitching machine pitches straight and is reliable enough to provide some excellent training pitches.
Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine
This machine offers a versatile range of adjustable pitching speeds.
Pros: This versatile baseball pitching machine will have no trouble pitching regulation baseballs, softballs, and dimpled training balls. Its speed options of 18 to 60 miles per hour are suitable for a wide range of players, and thankfully, the machine is easy to adjust in terms of speed. This machine is also extremely accurate and incredibly lightweight, so it’s no wonder that it’s the official pitching machine for the Babe Ruth League.
Cons: While this baseball pitching machine provides a great bang for your buck in terms of pitching speed and accuracy, it does have to be frequently readjusted by the user to ensure its pitches stay in or around the strike zone. However, if you’re seeking a less hands-on pitching machine, you’ll likely need to increase your investment.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly product that can provide excellent batting and fielding practice to older children and pre-teens, the Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine is worth a look. However, this product can be quite dangerous if not routinely adjusted to ensure accurate pitches.
Franklin Sports Baseball Pitching Machine
This child-friendly baseball pitching machine excels at both pitching and tossing.
Pros: Featuring an easy-to-assemble design that sports a pitching speed of 15 to 20 miles per hour, this baseball pitching machine from Franklin Sports is a great choice for children under seven years old. Like most kid-friendly pitching machines, it’s battery-operated, so it can be taken to the park for batting practice with your child. While this isn’t the most adjustable machine out there, you can tweak the angle to practice soft tosses or fast pitch throws, making it great for young baseball or softball players.
Cons: This product goes through C batteries fairly quickly, which can get pretty expensive if you haven’t yet invested in rechargeable batteries. Also, it’s not exactly the most accurate kids’ pitching machine, so your child can practice spotting when a pitch is outside of the strike zone.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a baseball pitching machine that offers a little more in terms of reliability and adjustable options compared to most children’s pitching machines, this offering from Franklin Sports is a great pick. That being said, you might want to pick out some rechargeable C batteries in order to save yourself some money over time.
SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine
This machine can be used indoors or outdoors to improve your hand-eye coordination and swing.
Pros: If you’re looking for a baseball pitching machine that can be used indoors and is ideal for repetition training, the SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine is worth considering. This machine takes some of the guesswork out of operating similar products as it automatically pitches at 30 miles per hour with five-second pauses in between. Also, its soft mini balls can be used to improve hand-eye coordination and your swing even from inside your home. It fits 26 balls inside to help you get good practice in.
Cons: This product uses miniature balls, so it’ll be more of a supplemental training tool than a primary baseball pitching machine for most people. That being said, its ability to be used indoors makes it a versatile option for training your hand-eye coordination during rainy or snowy days.
Bottom Line: Since the balls this product uses are fairly light, it’s not exactly ideal for using outside when the weather is anything but windless and beautiful. However, its surprisingly durable build quality and versatile use make it a good option for baseball players who require additional hand-eye training to bat like a pro.
It’s not hard to find a great baseball pitching machine that’s tailored toward your abilities and playing style. If it’s accurate, portable, and provides pitch speeds that give you good batting practice, then you’ve found a solid pitching machine to elevate your game.