When a bat is broken mid-swing during an MLB game, what is the bigger cause behind the break, the velocity of the pitch, or the force behind the batter’s swing?

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When a bat is broken mid-swing during an MLB game, what is the bigger cause behind the break, the velocity of the pitch, or the force behind the batter’s swing?

In: Physics
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Bat. Most broken bats have probably been used multiple times and several likely have cracks, however big or microscopic, before finally breaking.

If the ball was static, the batter would be unlikely to break the bat on it even with the hardest swing. The pitcher is the one with the most effect on the outcome as without a pitch the bat can’t strike with enough force to break the bat

It depends on a variety of things: place the bat was hit, speed of the ball, how much the bat has been used, speed of the swing, etc.

I have seen a video of a player breaking the bat while checking his swing. He started swinging but stopped quickly. His hands stopped, but the upper half of the bat didn’t.

They work together to do it. Both objects experience the same force (Newton’s third law) during the collision. But we could determine which one brings more energy to the event.

A baseball is 0.15kg and is going 40 m/s. That’s 120 joules of kinetic energy.

The bat is much larger at 1 kg. It’s traveling roughly 30 m/s. That brings about 450 j of energy.

So the bat contributes the majority of the energy and an argument could be made that it is the more significant “cause”

Probably more to do with wear and tear than either of those things.

An MLB player will go through around 100-120 bats per year, but that is on something like 150 games and 700 plate appearances. So 6-7 plate appearances per bat with the bat making ball contact maybe 1-3 times per appearance on average(maybe more depending on the player.) So you’re talking up to 21 contacts per bat.

Every time they make contact it will cause wear and tear on the bat. Fractures, micro-fractures, cracks. I’d say it’s more overuse than anything. Every now and then you’ll get a glimpse of a batter tapping the handle of the bat on concrete or a railing. That’s to feel for vibrations that are a sign of a cracked bat.

That being said, of the two you mentioned, I’d have to guess the batters swing would be the bigger factor. Without scientific data and just based on the observation that power hitters break wayyy more bats than power pitchers.

There are a few less than accurate descriptions here currently.

Here’s a simple thought experiment.

Can a pitcher throw a ball from home plate into the stands in deep left or right field?

No.

That alone should tell you that the overwhelming amount of force is coming from the bat, not the ball, especially considering the batter has to overcome the pitcher’s throwing force to move the ball in the opposite direction in the first place.

Mostly it’s where the ball comes into contact with the bat. There are thinner weaker spots between the barrel and the knob.