New Bat Designs Could Help Major Leaguers,
If They’d Only Use Them
This is hardly a secret: Offensive numbers are way down around Major League Baseball. The league-wide OPS sits at .703, the lowest mark in over two decades. Pitchers throw harder. Strikeout rates have skyrocketed. Aggressive defensive shifts turn more hard-hit balls into outs. In short, it’s just not an easy time to be scoring runs in the big leagues.
But there’s a potential advantage already available to hitters, and precious few Major Leaguers have even given it a try.
Multiple companies produce bats with ergonomic knobs that have been shown to improve the speed, power, and control of hitters’ swings and reduce the hand injuries and discomfort common with conventional bats.
Bat designer, Grady Phelan, invented the tapered knob on his ProXR bat after accidentally losing his grip on a bat in his backyard and nearly hitting his son. Phelan initially intended to create only a better grip to reduce the number of thrown bats and hamate-bone injuries. But he, too, has found that his design improved performance.
“(Former MLB pitcher and outfielder) Rick Ankiel told us first: ‘I get better plate coverage with your bats; I can keep my hands inside and get better coverage on the outside,’” Phelan said. “That was a huge indicator to us. They really do feel different.”