What is a Barrel in Baseball? – Explained for Beginners

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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what is a barrel in baseball

Baseball is a sport that encompasses more than just hitting and throwing a ball. It is a complex game with a specific set of rules and unique terminology that fans must understand to fully appreciate. Among these intricacies is the term “barrel”.

To answer your query of what is a barrel in baseball, it is essentially a statistically well-strike ball with the ideal exit velocity and launch angle. There are a lot of factors that define a hard-hit ball and today, we’ll dive deeper into the subject.

Definition and Meaning of Barrel in Baseball


When a batter hits a quality ball with a combination of high exit velocity and optimal launch angle, the hit is called a barrel.

Statcast, a technology introduced in Major League Baseball in 2015, has made it easier to identify barrels. The Statcast barrel classification is just a way to label the most powerful and impressive hits in the sport.

The barrel classification can be used as a valuable metric for teams and scouts in determining a player’s hitting ability and potential. It helps identify hitters with a high potential for extra-base hits and can assist coaches and scouts in player evaluation.

The barrel zone encompasses a specific range of exit velocity (98+ mph) and launch angle (26 degrees and more) where batted balls are classified as barreled.

As the exit velocity increases beyond 98 mph, the range of launch angles that can be considered barreled expands.

Achieving a minimum barrel classification requires the precise calculation of the ball’s distance and the necessary force to achieve the desired exit velocity and launch angle.

By hitting the ball in the barrel zone, a player can maximize their chances of hitting with optimal force and trajectory.

Calculating Barrel Percentage


Barrel percentage MLB is a significant metric when evaluating a player’s hitting ability. The stat meaning is that it represents the percentage of batted balls that have a combination of exit velocity and launch angle that typically results in extra-base hits. It has two types.

To calculate barrel percentage per ball, divide the number of barrels by the total number of batted balls, excluding bunts and pitches classified as pop-ups. For instance, if a player has 100 batted balls with 20 of them being barrels, his barrel percentage would be 20%.

Another way to calculate barrel percentage is on a per-plate appearance basis. This metric considers the total number of plate appearances and calculates the percentage of plate appearances that result in a barrel.

For example, if the same player above has 500 plate appearances with 100 batted balls, of which 20 are barrels, his barrel percentage per plate appearance would be 4% (20/500).

Calculating barrel percentage is crucial to understanding a player’s hitting performance, especially when combined with other metrics such as average exit velocity and hard hit rate MLB (which is the percentage of balls hit at 95 mph and higher).

If you’re curious about actual stats, here are some rankings of the highest barrel percentages.


Barrels per batted balls (%)

Matt Chapman


Jake Burger


Luke Raley


Sean Murphy


Joey Gallo




Barrels per plate appearance (%)

Matt Chapman


Jake Burger


Luke Raley


Sean Murphy


Randy Arozarena


The Physics of Hitting the Barrel


Hitting the ball on the barrel of the bat is not just about achieving a faster ball speed. It is a skill that requires an understanding of the complex physics behind it. The flex of the barrel plays a crucial role in transferring more energy to the ball, resulting in a more powerful hit.

However, hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the barrel also affects the trajectory and spin of the ball, which can be the difference between a home run and a pop-up fly.

The ideal swing path for hitting the barrel is a swing that is on the same plane as that of the ball. This allows the batter to hit the ball with the most effective part of the barrel, resulting in optimal contact.

Achieving optimal contact with the barrel of the bat requires more than just focusing on hitting the right spot.

It’s essential to have proper swing mechanics, such as a level swing plane and good hand-eye coordination. It takes practice and technique to consistently make optimal contact with the barrel.

Importance of the Barrel in Hitting

Hitting the ball on the barrel leads to an increase in the ball’s exit velocity by causing the fibers of the bat to compress.

Additionally, maximizing the contact area between the ball and the bat results in a more efficient collision, further increasing the ball’s speed and trajectory. To achieve this, it’s essential to have proper swing mechanics and follow the ideal swing path.

Factors Affecting a Barrel in Baseball


Baseball bats’ performance can be influenced by different factors, including environmental conditions, bat speed, pitch speed, and the type of bat used. The barrel is a critical component of the bat that determines the trajectory and speed of the ball upon impact.

Hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the bat can increase the ball’s exit velocity and maximize the energy transfer, resulting in a more efficient collision. The sweet spot is about five to seven inches away from the barrel of the bat and is where the hitter will feel no vibration upon batting.

The type of bat can also affect its performance; for instance, smaller barrel bats made from high-density wood can have greater pop and provide superior outcomes.

How to Improve Your Barrel Rate With the Proper Technique

To improve your barrel rate, you can focus on enhancing your bat speed through various exercises like using a weighted bat, inside focus front tosses, and explosive med ball throws. Moreover, barrel control is another essential factor that requires practice and repetition.

You can improve barrel control by using a longer bat for inside and high pitches and using a shorter bat for low or outside pitches.

Significance of Barrel in Game Statistics

Baseball players’ performance and game statistics are significantly influenced by the hit of their baseball bat. To better evaluate a batter’s performance and how well pitchers are performing, statisticians developed a new metric called “barrels.”

The creation of the barrel metric has improved the understanding of a batted ball’s dynamics and has provided more specified data-driven evaluations.

The barrel metric not only benefits batters but also helps pitchers to more precisely determine the art of pitching and eliminate outliers such as weak-hit home runs.

How is Barrel Different From Other Hitting Metrics?

The barrel is a distinctive hitting metric in baseball that evaluates the quality of well-hit balls.

Unlike traditional hitting metrics, such as batting average and slugging percentage, which provide an overall measure of a player’s hitting performance, the barrel metric has a greater correlation to ISO or isolated power.


What is a good barrel percentage in baseball?

A good barrel % MLB of 15 percent or more is considered outstanding. A barrel rate falling between ten and 15 percent is considered decent, while any number lower than ten is often regarded as mediocre.

Who has the highest barrel in MLB?

According to Statcast, the player with the highest barrel percentage per plate appearance, as of April 30, 2023, is Matt Chapman of the Toronto Blue Jays, with a barrel percentage of 21.0%. He is currently at the top of the MLB barrel leaders board.

Player Name

Launching Angle (°)

Exit Velocity Avg


# of Barrels



Matt Chapman







Jake Burger







Joey Gallo







Brent Rooker







Max Muncy







What is the barrel speed in MLB?

What is considered a good barrel speed in MLB is approximately 70 miles per hour. This is the average speed for players, though the common highs are around 80 mph.


Now that you know what is a barrel in baseball, you’ve gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of the sport. Barrel percentage is one of the most vital baseball stats players in the MLB aspire to increase as this can create a lot of opportunities for them.

However, achieving a high barrel rate is not an easy feat, and it requires a thorough understanding of the mechanics of the game.

Therefore, by utilizing proper technique and equipment, players can strive towards reaching their full potential and elevating their skills to the next level.

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