No More Freaks or Syn2s – What Are We Losing?

By Dan Hughes

As of January 1, 2008, the Amateur Softball Association of America banned nine 100-mph bats that had been grandfathered in for the past several years.

The bats that are now banned include two of the most popular bats of all time:  the original Miken Freak (also known as the Freak 100), and the Easton Synergy 2.  

The rest of the list:

Louisville Slugger


In a separate action, the ASA also banned the Combat Lady Virus bat.

So how will this ban affect the game?  Or to be more precise, how much distance will batters lose when they switch from a 100 MPH bat to a 98 MPH bat?

Here is what two experts have to say about it.


Steve Zawrotny

Steve is a baseball fitness guru.  Check out his site at  He writes, 

Hi Dan, 

Yes, the drop in “ejection speed” off of the bat means you won’t be able to hit the ball as far with a 98 mph bat as you could with a 100 mph bat, assuming your mechanics and bat speed stay the same. 

So the key to making up the difference with the lower performing bat is to increase your performance (bat speed) by several mph. You’ll have to be better, so to speak, to offset the lower performing equipment. 

The good news is that everyone will be similarly affected, except for two groups of players: 

1      1)      Those who could already hit it well over 300+ feet. The 2% reduction won’t noticeably affect their performance.

2      2)      Those who do the extra work to enhance their abilities so as to overcome the new limitations imposed by their equipment. 

Both groups are pretty small. 




Alan Nathan

Alan is a physicist at the University of Illinois, and a recognized authority on the physics of baseball.  (See his fascinating page of referenced articles at 

Here is his reply: 

Dan....The answer is...

1. If softball were played in a vacuum, then a 2% drop in batted ball speed (BBS) would be a 4% drop in distance.

2. Softball is not played in a vacuum. There is air resistance, so the answer is more complicated.

3. For a baseball, each mph of BBS is worth about 5 ft on a long fly ball.

4. For a softball, there is more drag since the ball is larger. As a result, each mph of BBS is worth about 3.5 ft on a long fly ball.

Best...Alan Nathan

The Bottom Line

So the bottom line is, if the banned bats are 100 MPH bats (I use this qualifier because some of them may actually be a bit higher than 100 MPH), the home run hitter will lose about seven feet in distance when he makes the switch to a 98 MPH bat.


    © 2008 Dan Hughes