10 Best Pitching Machines | March 2017

All you baseball and softball players. Improve your swing, timing, strength and confidence with one of these pitching machines. They are ideal for individual or team practice and enable all sluggers to work on fast balls, curve balls, sliders and split fingers. Skip to the best pitching machine on Amazon.
10 Best Pitching Machines | March 2017

Overall Rank: 6
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 8
Best Inexpensive
The heavy duty Trend Sports Heater delivers real ball speed and accuracy every time. It can pitch at a rate of one ball every 12 seconds using its automatic ball feeder, and can pitch either regulation or dimpled machine balls.
Get ready for the game with the versatile BSN Bulldog, which features baseball/softball combo pitching at speeds from 30 mph to 60 mph. It uses a urethane wheel that eliminates any air pressure issues.
The Louisville Slugger UPM 45 is the ultimate training aid. It pitches with consistency and reliability throw after throw, allowing hitters to work on accuracy, sharpen muscle memory and improve swing mechanics.
Test your skills against a ball half the size with the Jugs Small-Ball. It teaches the fundamentals of hitting while also improving depth perception and honing hitting skills, so it is easier when it's time for a full-sized ball.
  • automatic and manual 25 ball feeder
  • built of heavy-duty steel
  • adjustable legs for realistic height
Brand Jugs
Model M7000
Weight 29.7 pounds
The Jugs Junior M1400 has a patented delivery system and non-marking pneumatic tire so it throws consistent strikes every time with precision and accuracy. It also has a digital speed readout, so you know how fast a ball was pitched.
  • ideal for defensive and offensive drills
  • 15-60 mph speed range
  • easy to quickly set up and move
Brand Jugs
Model M1400
Weight 84.8 pounds
With its lightweight construction, unique three-wheel design and three speed knobs, the Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack is perfect for travel teams and drills. It is extremely sturdy and doesn't wobble when throwing.
  • converts to throw a special 7.5" ball
  • fits into any compact car
  • head pivots instantly in any direction
Brand Sports Attack
Weight 96 pounds
The First Pitch Baseline is an easily portable choice that is ideal for a backyard batting cage or coaching youth teams. It has a swivel base and reversible legs, making it useful for baseball and softball practice.
  • contoured skid plate for accuracy
  • full-size pitching machine tire
  • enclosed control panel with 7 speeds
Brand First Pitch
Weight 61 pounds
The portable Jugs Curveball M1000 features a patented gooseneck design that can adjust for all types of pitches, optimizing batting practices. Its swivel-design base provides 360° movement for fly balls, ground balls, and pop-ups.
  • speed range of 20 to 104 miles per hour
  • for players aged 12 years to adult
  • has a five-year guarantee
Brand Jugs
Model M1000
Weight 150.8 pounds
The Jugs Lite-Flite is a great value considering its features and price point. It is ideal for up-and-coming hitters who want to perfect their swing on pitches up to 85 mph. Plus it can simulate left or right-handed pitchers.
  • can throw baseballs and softballs
  • weighs only 35 pounds
  • designed to recharge in 4 hours
Brand Jugs
Model M6000
Weight 41.2 pounds
The professional level Sports Attack Hack Attack will get you ready for the major leagues. It pitches 100+ mph fast balls, curveballs, sliders and split fingers, so you can practice on every kind of pitch.
  • live arm sense of timing and location
  • easy elevation adjustment handle
  • no assembly required
Brand Sports Attack
Model B-HABA
Weight 183 pounds

To Throw Or Not To Throw: That Is The Question

A pitching machine may seem detrimental to playing a game like baseball that involves many natural movements and instincts. But imagine that you're a pitcher for a major league baseball team and you have to prepare for practices on a daily basis. While it's important to develop your game and familiarity with different types of pitches, how do you prevent arm fatigue/injury from setting in before you've even stepped foot onto the field for an actual game?

Now imagine that you're up to bat and ready to hit one out of the park during a practice, but the pitcher is too tired to throw the ball with enough accuracy and speed to meet its mark and give you the best chance to hit the ball when it's in the strike zone. In either situation, a pitching machine can be a great help for preventing fatigue and ensuring an improved degree of in-game accuracy for the batter.

A pitching machine automatically delivers the ball to a batter in a variety of styles and speeds. The 2 most common types of pitching machines are the arm and circular wheel machines. With its overhand style motion, the arm-action machine uses a bracket to mimic the natural movements of a live pitcher as he throws the ball to the plate. With its 1-3 wheels that spin in much the same way bike tires do, the circular wheel machine can be set up either vertically or horizontally and allows the baseball to shoot out directly towards the hitter after being fed through its spinning wheels. The more wheels available on the machine, the easier it is to adjust it to mimic the different pitching styles.

Pitching machines accomplish several goals, including giving a batter the freedom to practice on their own. Many pitching machines are also set up within indoor or outdoor batting cages so that the hitter can teach their muscles to recognize patterns over time and through repetition of movement, while focusing on their skill without having to involve other members of the team. Think of a pitching machine as an extra coach. While the machine doesn't replace the live coach, it does assist in honing and developing one's skill and repetition over time.

The pitching machine supports a range of skill level, including youth, high school, collegiate, and professional leagues. For youth leagues, it's a safe and effective training tool to familiarize young players with routine on the field. Pitches up to 50 miles per hour are usually sufficient for those starting out. Portability and lightweight design are also important when traveling to different practice locations.

For the remaining skill levels, speed and variety are important as players develop their abilities and become more clever in their approach than at the basic level. Lite ball and combo pitching machines have also gained popularity with both baseball and softball players. The lite ball machine is more heavily focused on developing one's swing and hand-eye coordination through the use of lightweight balls, whereas the combo machines include detachable legs and adjustable plates to be used for both baseball and softball purposes.

The Right Pitch For A Homerun

Speed and accuracy will assist you in investing in a good pitching machine. For professional players, a top speed of 100+ mph is pretty close to what you'd actually experience from a real pitcher on the baseball diamond. That's valuable to have, but make sure the speed is adjustable.

While baseball is a game of speed and precision, using a pitching machine only for its speed won't reflect a real-life, in-game experience. Strategy is equally important, so the machine must have a useful targeting system for training the batter to recognize pitch types and understand how best to approach the swing. Although a batter isn't going to have much time to stop and think about a 100-mph pitch, the machine can help to train their eye to recognize a pitch and develop an instinct to hit the ball appropriately when the time comes.

Professional-quality, multi-wheel models also have adjustable legs, pitch angle controls, pivoting heads, and throwing wheel dials for programming the unit to deliver a variety of pitch styles, including fly balls, ground balls, and pop-ups.

A Brief History Of The Pitching Machine

The original pitching machine was invented in 1897 by Charles Howard Hinton, a mathematics instructor and science fiction writer at Princeton University. While its gunpowder-fueled power raised concern for its safety level with players, it was still capable of throwing pitches at variable speeds to mimic realistic field scenarios. Hinton also introduced the device to the University of Minnesota where he worked as an assistant professor until 1900.

The arm-type pitching machine was designed by Paul Giovagnoli in 1952. Its use of a metal arm mounted to a large gear would simulate the motions of a real pitcher. The mass production of this design began in 1976, with the founding of Master Pitching Machine.

Over the course of several decades, the pitching machine became more sophisticated and attuned to different pitching styles. With sophistication also came the ability to propel a baseball in different ways, including by mechanized arms, using compressed air for additional speed, and spinning wheels. These different techniques get players accustomed to those kinds of pitches they are likely to see in the game so that they're ready for almost anything.

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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information