another interesting article
you could conclude that softer hitters between 80 and 90 (probably 75 to 85 with HS OF depths) are best served hitting at 5 to 15 degrees and harder hitters at 90+ would be best served hitting at 20 to 30.
the middle of that (20) is actually not all that great for softer hitters (the donut hole) because it tends to get caught more often unless really hard or really soft.
but then again who can control it that well?
the article also shows that in MLB you need to hit it really hard to get GB hits. at -5 degrees you need to hit it 95+ to get to a .400 average which is very hard. hit those at 85 and you are always out. so basically more exit velo gives you a higher launch angle range in both the sharp grounder and donut hole range. if you don't have the power you need to be more precise with your LA and you cover a smaller LA range. that does not mean LA does not matter at higher EVs though. a 100 MPH grounder is a hit in MLB quite often but you don't produce extra bases. that is not terrible if you defend like kevin kiermeier but if you are a first baseman (those big players produce the most 100+ hits) you basically take away your only way of contributing positively on the baseball field.
for example eric hosmer is a grounder machine who hits it really hard. he isn't a bad hitter, due to his strength he still gets his hits and 20 bombs that he misses under but he is not producing well for a 1b and only an average player. so he gets away with his non mastering of launch angle somewhat and still is a slightly above average hitter but he is not as good as he could be.
there is of course also the other extreme. billy hamilton has an average launch angle of 18 degrees this year. that actually is not bad but his average EV is one of the lowest in the majors at 80. that probably means the OF plays him shallower taking away the bloopers so that he basically has a lot of donut hole flyouts at 20-30 degrees.
he probably would be better off to lower his LA a little to 5 to 15. of course that wouldnt make him a good hitter either because he not only hits the ball soft but also strikes 100 times a year, which is not bad in these days but too much if your average EV is 80 and you hit 3 HRs a year.
Good insight. I will remind that no one in this thread/discussion has ever suggested a negative LA (ground ball). I know I don't need to tell you that but trying to keep any healthy debate in context for other(s).
I will challenge your interpretation of the chart, however. It appears to me that your exit velo would need to be 100+, not 90+, before a launch angle over 18% is advantageous. That probably eliminates 98% of HS players. And you have to be realistic about what they "potentially can" do and what they realistically can do. So, this chart would imply to me that HS players, except the very rare few, will get optimal results at 5 - 18 degrees.
I took particular interest in the Hosmer reference. A grounder machine. I would love to hear his take on what his INTENDED launch angle is. I'm willing to bet that, most often, it is not negative/GB's. Again, my point is that the resulting statistical data is not necessarily directly correlated to the intent or the teach. Many MLB players who hit their share of HR's don't hit with the intent of 20-30 degree lift. They try to drive the ball hard and very slight misses under the ball but barreled leave the yard while very slight misses over the ball are hard ground balls.
To further illustrate my point...
Another interesting stat from the charts - hitters with 100+ exit velo are better off at 10 degrees than 15-20 degrees. Then, things improve again at 25 degrees. So are hitters/hitting coaches using the data and trying to hit at either 10 degrees or 25 degrees but not in between? Don't think so.