Roto Match Game: Guess Your Batted Ball Type

Major League Baseball Advanced Media collects and distributes the hit and pitch tracking data. This data gives the general public some additional information previously unavailable like pitch spin and batted ball angle. The system has almost removed the need for stringers (people who collect batted ball and game data) except for plays wich get immediately described for the Gameday feed. Each batted ball get the designation of a bunt, ground ball, fly ball, line drive, or popup. Sometimes, it’s tough to designate each batted ball type. Today, I am going to look at the triple point for line drives, pop ups, and fly balls.

For reference, here are all the batted designations since 2015 plotted against launch angle and batted ball velocity (Thanks to Sean Dolinar for creating the graphic).

Note: Some weird angle classification went on at the zero mark.

The area I am concentrating on borders the point at 60-mph launch speed and 35-degree launch angle. It’s the point where line drives, pop-ups, and fly balls merge into a blur. It’s time to see if you can tell them apart.

Here are six batted balls with a launch angle between 33 and 37 degrees and a launch speed between 58 and 62 mph. At least one was labeled a fly ball, line drive, and pop up. Can you guess how the stringers labeled them? Also, how would you want them labeled? I don’t have any prizes to hand out if someone happens to guess them right. Sorry. In the next couple days, I will go over the correct answers. Good luck, you’re going to need it.


Batted Ball #1
Launch Speed: 58.1mph
Launch Angle: 34.2 degrees


Batted Ball #2
Launch Speed: 59.4 mph
Launch Angle: 34.0 degrees


Batted Ball #3
Launch Speed: 61.0 mph
Launch Angle: 36.4 degrees


Batted Ball #4
Launch Speed: 60.4 mph
Launch Angle: 33.6 degrees


Batted Ball #5
Launch Speed: 61.8 mph
Launch Angle: 35.9 degrees


Batted Ball #6
Launch Speed: 60.2 mph
Launch Angle: 33.2 degrees

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

newest oldest most voted

1: Flyball
2: Flyball
3: Popup
4: Linedrive
5: Flyball
6: Linedrive

#3 is the only one I feel even somewhat confident about, which means it’s probably wrong.