Radar Measurement Glossary of Terms

Pitching Measurements

  • Pitch Velocity
    • This is the speed of a pitch, reported in miles per hour, at the moment the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand
  • Spin Rate
    • How fast the ball is spinning as it leaves the pitcher’s hand, reported in the number of times the pitched ball would spin per minute (“revolutions per minute” or “rpm”).  Spin rate significantly impacts the movement of a pitch, and based off the pitch type it can drastically improve a pitcher’s effectiveness.
  • Tilt
    • Spin axis converted into clock time, rounded to the nearest 15 minutes. As a rule of thumb, the ball will break in the direction of the number on the clock face.  For example:
      • 6:00 is perfect top spin (classic “12 – 6” curveball), causing the ball to break down
      • 12:00 is perfect back spin (Four seam fastball, with no left-right movement), causing the ball to break upward relative to how it would have moved due to gravity alone – cutters are around 11:00 and sinkers are around 2:00 for a RHP, while cutters are around 1:00 and sinkers around 10:00 for a LHP.
      • 3:00 is a “Frisbee” spinning and breaking to the right, while 9:00 is a “Frisbee” spinning and breaking to the left.
  • Extension
    • The distance from the tip of home plate at which the pitcher releases the ball.  Extension has a direct impact on the derived TrackMan measurement of Effective Velocity.
  • Release Height
    • The height above home plate at which the pitcher releases the ball. This measurement is what gets used as the vertical dimension when displaying the "Release Slot" chart in our Pitching Report.
  • Release Side
    • The distance from the center of the rubber at which the pitcher releases the ball. Balls thrown from the right side of the mound from the pitcher’s perspective will have a positive number, and balls thrown from the left side of the mound from the pitcher’s perspective have a negative number. This measurement is what gets used as the horizontal dimension when displaying the "Release Slot" chart in our Pitching Report.
  • Plate Location Height
    • The height of the ball relative to home plate, as the ball crosses the front of the plate. This is the measurement used for the vertical dimension of the "Pitch Location" chart in both the Pitching and Hitting Reports.
  • Plate Location Side
    • The distance from the center of the plate to the ball as it crosses the front of the plate. Negative numbers are to the left of center from the pitcher’s perspective (outside to a right handed batter). Positive numbers to the right of center from the pitcher’s perspective (inside to a right handed batter).  This is the measurement used for the horizontal dimension of the "Pitch Location" chart in both the Pitching and Hitting Reports.
  • Vertical Release Angle
    • Initial vertical (up-down) direction of the ball when it leaves the pitcher’s hand, reported in degrees. A positive number means the ball is released upward, while a negative number means the ball is released downward.
  • Horizontal Release Angle
    • Initial horizontal (left-right) direction of the ball when it leaves the pitcher’s hand, reported in degrees. A positive number means the ball is released to the right from the pitcher’s perspective, while a negative number means the ball is released to the left from the pitcher’s perspective.
  • Spin Axis
    • The direction the ball is spinning, reported in degrees of tilt. Note that:
      • A ball thrown with a spin axis of 0 has pure top spin. The top of the ball is moving away from the pitcher and the bottom of the ball is moving away from the batter. This is a classic “12-6” curveball. This kind of spin will cause the ball to drop more than gravity would cause alone.
      • A ball thrown with a spin axis of 180 has pure backspin and is a classic four seam fastball, with the top of the ball moving towards the pitcher and the bottom of the ball moving toward the batter. This kind of spin will cause the ball to drop less that gravity would cause alone.
      • A ball thrown with a spin axis of 90 is spinning squarely toward the left, from the pitcher’s perspective (and would create a break to the left), while a ball thrown with a spin axis of 270 is spinning squarely toward the right, from the pitcher’s perspective (and would create a break to the right).
  • Vertical Break
    • Distance between where the pitch actually crosses the front of home plate height-wise, and where it would have crossed home plate height-wise if had it traveled in a perfectly straight line from release, completely unaffected by gravity.
    • Note: This number will be quite large for pitches released with a positive vertical release angle
  • Induced Vertical Break
    • Distance between where the pitch actually crosses the front of home plate height-wise, and where it would have crossed home plate height-wise if had it traveled in a perfectly straight line from release, but affected by gravity.
    • Note: If this number is positive, the ball broke “upwards”, or in reality dropped less than it would have due to gravity alone – it does not necessarily mean that the ball actually rose
  • Horizontal Break
    • Distance between where the pitch actually crosses the front of home plate side-wise, and where it would have crossed home plate side-wise if had it traveled in a perfectly straight line from release. A positive number means the break was to the right from the pitcher’s perspective, while a negative number means the break was to the left from the pitcher’s perspective
  • Zone Speed
    • Speed of the pitch as it crosses the front of home plate
  • Vertical Approach Angle
    • How steeply up or down the ball enters the zone, reported as the angle, as the pitch crosses the front of home plate. A negative number means it is sloping downward, while a positive number (rare) means it is sloping upward.
  • Horizontal Approach Angle
    • The left-right direction at which a pitched ball crosses the front of home plate, reported as an angle. A negative number means that the ball is moving from right to left from the pitcher’s perspective (away from a right handed batter) as it enters the zone, and a positive number means that the ball is moving from left to right from the pitcher’s perspective (in on a right handed batter) as it enters the zone
  • Zone Time
    • The amount of time elapsed from pitcher’s release until it crosses the front of home plate. Also may be referred to as “batter reaction time”.

Hitting Measurements

  • Exit Speed
    • The speed of the ball, measured in miles per hour, as it comes off the bat at the moment of contact.  Exit speed is a primary indicator of a batter’s raw power.
  • Vertical Launch Angle
    • How steeply up or down the ball leaves the bat, reported as an angle. A positive number means the ball is initially traveling upward, while a negative number means the ball is initially traveling downward
  • Horizontal Launch Angle
    • The left-right (horizontal) direction in which the ball leaves the bat, reported as an angle. A negative number represents a ball initially traveling toward the third base side of second base while a positive number represents a ball initially traveling toward the first base side
  • Hit Spin Rate
    • How fast the ball is spinning as it leaves the bat, reported in the number of times the hit ball would spin per minute (“revolutions per minute” or “rpm”).
  • Distance
    • This is the estimated “carry flat” distance of a batted ball in measured in feet.  The “carry flat” distance is the distance that the ball travels before it lands, or would have landed if it were not caught or obstructed.
  • Bearing
    • Indicates where on the field the ball lands or would have landed, had it not been caught or obstructed. It is reported in degrees relative to home plate.  A bearing of 0 degrees means the ball landed on a straight line from home through second base.  A positive number means the ball landed on the first base side, while a negative number means the ball landed on the third base side.
  • Hang time
    • The amount of time elapsed from when the ball hits the bat until the ball lands or would have landed, had it not been caught or obstructed.
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