Pitching machines are programmed to simulate various pitch sequences, replicating human hand throws. The devices can throw multiple pitch types, depending on how they have been created. Essentially, multiple components in these machines work hand-in-hand to reproduce pitches with different repeatable trajectories, velocities, spins, and precision. This article digs into pitching machine parts and their work, so read on for insights.
So, what are components of pitching machines? Let’s find out.
Components of a Pitching Machine
Typically, different pitching machines vary significantly in mechanical design and have different components. Thus, it is worth looking into various types of machines to understand pitching machine accessories.
This article will discuss the common pitching machine types: arm-style, roller, and air. Also, we will be using specific examples when discussing pitching machine parts. Note that each type falls under either automatic (motor-powered) or manual.
Arm-Style Pitching Machines
Arm-style baseball pitching machines use a delivery system modeled after the human hand to replicate the baseball pitch. These machines come in two forms: manual hand-held and automatic arm-style machines.
Manual hand-held pitching machines (such as Louisville Slugger blue flame pitchers)
These machines use a throwing lever and a spring to pitch the balls. The pitchers are perfect for fastballs only. They can pitch up to 60mph. Essentially, the blue flame pitchers are an excellent example of manual arm-style pitchers.
The blue flame pitching machines parts include:
- The base: Keeps the machine stable. Typically, the bottom has spikes on the front end to enhance the machine’s stability.
- Power pedal: The power pedal works alongside the pitch spring to pitch the balls. Essentially, both elements determine pitch speed.
- Crank lever: The crank lever, also known as the pitching arm, is where the ball is placed. The lever has a micro-adjustment knob for setting the strike zone, allowing different pitch angles (heights).
- Shooting spring: The shooting/pitching spring is responsible for pitching. It determines the pitch velocity.
- Release lever: This is what triggers this machine.
Automatic arm-style pitching machines (such as the Iron Mike pitching machine)
These are heavy-duty arm-style pitching machines. Typically, arm-style pitchers have the same baseball pitching machine parts as manual ones. The only significant difference is that they are motor-powered and are auto-fed. That means that they require minimal human energy to control.
The machines can throw hundreds of practice baseballs at consistent intervals (usually 8 seconds), precision, and velocity. They can throw pitches of up to 90 mph.
The iron mike pitching machine parts include:
- Motor: These types of pitching machines have only one engine. Its primary purpose is to rotate the pitching arm and assist in ball feeding.
- Throwing arm: As in manual arm-style pitching machines, the throwing arm works alongside the pitching spring to throw the baseballs.
- Pitching spring: The pitching spring influences the pitch velocity.
- Feeding system: These pitchers have an auto-feeder system that can hold hundreds of balls. The system consists of a barrel with mechanical structures that deliver balls to the feed chute, which starts the balls on the propulsion path.
- Adjustment cranks: Unlike other pitching machines, automatic arm-style pitchers have adjustment cranks for controlling pitch speed and trajectory. They do not have a control unit.
Air Pitching Machines
Air pitching machines are less commonly used by major league baseball players. They are, however, equally efficient as other pitchers. They can pitch up to 65 feet and at 10 – 70 mph. Zooka is one of the renowned names in air pitching machines. These machines use compressed air to pitch baseballs. More specifically, air pitching machine parts include:
- Feeding system: Compressed air pitching machines usually have a removable gravity feeder. Typically, the feeder can be connected to the chute on the front part of the machine. Unlike other pitchers, the air pitching machine has one ramp for feeding and releasing.
- Air compressor: The compressor pump on an air pitching machine is responsible for creating pitching pressure. It compresses air up to a point, creating significant pressure for releasing the ball.
- Control unit: The control unit of these pitchers is usually more elaborate than in other types of pitching machines. It has multiple elements that work hand-in-hand to deliver pitches efficiently and consistently. Such features include a delivery gate sensor that detects a ball in the barrel and activates the compressor. They also have calibration systems to allow batters to set up pitching speeds.
Other components include adjustable bases and stands. These features allow users to adjust pitching height and vertical angles.
Roller Pitching Machines
Roller or wheel pitching machines are automatic pitchers that are entirely motor-powered. Typically, the machines use motors and spinning wheels to toss the balls. The pitchers can throw different pitch types, including fly and ground balls.
There are multiple wheel pitching machine types, including one-roller, two-roller, three-roller, and four-roller.
Heater, Bulldog, and Jugs pitching machines are perfect examples of roller pitchers.
Notably, the components incorporated in the construction of these pitching machines are almost the same. Simply put, the heater pitching machine parts are practically the same as the Jugs and bulldog pitching machine parts. The differences are the number of each specific component and the improvement of the control board. Also, sizes and construction materials vary from one brand to the next. As such, features – for example, a heater pitching machine replacement wheel, – cannot fit in Jugs pitchers.
The following are standard Bulldog, Heater, or jugs pitching machine parts.
- Baseballs feed chute: The feeding chute is the pathway the baseball goes through to the pitching assembly. The auto-feeding machines usually have a barrel or ramp connected to the feed chute to hold dozens of balls. The feeding system can be motor-powered or use gravity energy to transfer balls to the pitching assembly.
- Control board: The control board is typically responsible for controlling all operations of the pitching assembly. Precisely, the control unit controls the RPMs, ball rotation, ball-feeding system, release intervals, and other features. This unit has control knobs or buttons to enable the batter to set up the preferred pitches.
- Pitching machine motor: The motor(s) are the main components of these pitching machines. They are responsible for propelling the wheels to create the required thrust for pitching baseballs. Each wheel in a baseball pitching machine is attached to a specific motor (usually one motor for one wheel).
- Pitching machine wheels: These are the ball propulsion components of roller pitching machines. Different pitchers have a varied number of rollers arranged around the pitch path. The rollers are responsible for velocity, trajectory, and spinning.
- Adjustment knobs: Usually, roller pitching machines have three different adjusters for height and vertical/horizontal angle adjustments. The adjusters can be pins, steppers, or ratcheting racks.
Other jugs super softball pitching machine parts include an operator signal mechanism and remote control feature.
How do you replace baseball pitching machine parts?
Remarkably, replacing pitching machine components, such as pitching machine wheel replacement, is not too challenging because the pieces are easy to remove. All you need to do is find the right pitching machine replacement wheel, or other parts you wish to replace, and you’re good to go. Interestingly, the replacement parts are readily available in the marketplace. Note, however, that you must get replacements designed specifically for your machine brand. For example, if you want to change some Bulldog elements, you must buy specific bulldog pitching machine replacement parts. This applies to all pitcher elements, including the pitching machine replacement tire, feed chute, and other parts that may at first seem insignificant.
Baseball pitching machines are not as complicated as they may seem. Machines of the same type use practically the same components—pitching assembly, ball feeder, and release chute. The only difference is the construction design. Some designs demand more advanced features than others but the primary purpose is still the same.
Can you buy Jugs curveball pitching machine replacement parts online?
Yes. You can get various genuine jugs curveball pitching machine parts online.
Are pitching machines accurate?
Yes. Pitching machines are designed to deliver consistent accuracy throughout your training sessions.
How long do pitching machines last?
It depends on the type of the pitcher and multiple other factors. All in all, manual hand-held machines have a longer life span than their motor-powered counterparts.
How far can a pitching machine throw?
A standard baseball pitching machine can throw for up to 60 feet. However, some devices can throw further, up to 75 feet.