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Re: bat velocity versus bat mass

Posted by: George () on Tue May 29 16:28:53 2007

> In terms of generating the most force at impact between the ball and the bat does the mass of the bat or the velocity of the bat have a greater impact? In other words, holding other all parameters equal, will hitting a ball with a lighter bat at a greater velocity generate more/less/equal force than hitting a ball with a slightly heavier bat at a slighty lower velocity. In the Ken Burns series on baseball he quotes the Splendid Splinter as indicating that a lighter bat at an increased velocity will generate more force than the heavier/slower bat. Is there an established equation for this relation? Thanks for any help, I only took two semesters of physics about ten years ago.

John. If you have the chance, get "The Physics of Baseball" by Robert K. Adair. It may answer most of your question.

But if the batspeed is not significantly increased, the heavier bat at a lower speed will drive the ball further. This is because many hitters can make a small degree adjustment with a heavier bat and keep most of the batspeed. The key to the equation is the batter being able to maximize his timing and hit the ball on the sweetspot the most often.

It is not a simple equation and depends on each individual hitter. Otherwise Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs would have hit many more homeruns. But for Barry Bonds who uses as light as a 28 ounce bat, it would appear the greatest batspeed and lightest weight work for him. But we should also remember that most players will likely have to go down in bat weight though they may be physically stronger than when they started out in their younger years.


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