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BATA Baseball Frequently Asked Questions


Can you use real leather balls?

BATA machines are designed to use regulation real leather balls and BATA Dimpled Baseballs and Softballs. When auto-feeding, you may use only BATA Dimpled Balls. The seams on leather balls have a tendency to hang up in the feed chutes. When hand-feeding, you may use real leather balls or dimpled balls. Leather baseballs pitch well in our machines, as do BATA Dimpled Baseballs. Some leather softballs pitch well, and some don’t. DO NOT auto-feed leather baseballs or softballs.

Can any type of ball be used in BATA machines and feeders?

No. Our machines are guaranteed to work only with our BATA Dimpled Baseballs and Softballs, and with regulation baseballs and 11″ and 12″ softballs. Our feeders are guaranteed to work with BATA Dimpled Baseballs and Softballs only. Our machines will also pitch some of the “safety” or “RIF” balls.

More info about balls

The balls that you use in your BATA machine are critical to its performance. The relationship between the gripping of the wheels onto the outer surface of the ball is what makes it pitch. Any inconsistency in the surface or the weight of the ball, any moisture or debris, any slickness, will cause the ball to pitch inconsistently. Vinyl-type covered balls are not recommended in the machines. They are covered with a thick plastic-like “paint”, and tend to leave a slick residue on the surface of the pitching wheels, which will affect their ability to grip the ball. BATA machines are designed to use regulation real leather baseballs and softballs, and BATA Dimpled Baseballs and Softballs. Our machines and feeders are not guaranteed to work with other brands of dimpled balls. BATA Dimpled Baseballs and Softballs are designed specifically for use in our pitching machines. BATA Dimpled Balls will pitch more consistently than leather balls because there is one consistent surface on the ball. Whereas leather balls have seams (and the area between the seams), depending on whether the wheels grip the ball by the seams or not will determine how it will pitch. Also note that leather balls, because of the abrasive nature of the seams, will wear out the wheels faster. To ensure proper performance in your BATA pitching machine and/or auto-feeder, we strongly recommend that you do not use other brands of dimpled balls. Our BATA Dimpled White Baseballs are 10% lighter (4.5 ounces) than a regulation leather baseball (normally 5 ounces). This make the ball pitch a little faster, curve the same amount as a real baseball, and have less impact on the bat. Our dimpled baseballs are also slightly softer than a leather baseball.

If the maximum speed is 70 miles per hour, at what distance is it 70 mph?

Any distance. The distance has nothing to do with the speed. When we say that a machine has a maximum speed of 70 mph, that is the speed at which the ball comes out of the machine. When people talk about the speed at different distances, it is important to understand that the machine does not actually pitch a different speed if you are standing closer to it or farther away. What they are referring to is the comparison of the time that it takes the ball to travel different distances at certain speeds. For example, if you set the machine to pitch 70 mph, and you set it 30 feet from home plate, the pitch will get to home plate in half the time (or “twice as fast as”) it would take the same pitch to go 60 feet. Therefore, one could say that it seems like 140 mph at 30 feet, but in reality, the ball still travels at 70 mph. When calculating the comparative speed between 60 feet (High School and above) and 46 feet (Little League distance), you are really comparing the amount of time that it takes for the ball to go 46 feet rather than 60 feet. To compare the “ball travel time” of any two distances, divide the longer distance by the shorter distance and multiply the result by the mph. For example, 60′ divided by 46′ equals 1.30. Multiply 1.30 times 70 mph, and you have 91. That’s why we say that 70 mph from 46 feet equals 91 mph from 60 feet. But remember, the pitch is not actually traveling 91 mph. It just seems like 91 because it is being pitched to you from a shorter distance, so the ball is getting to home plate sooner.

How does a machine make the ball “curve”?

What makes a ball “curve” is the spin. If you throw an overhand fastball, the ball has backspin. If it were not for gravity, this ball would curve upward. Because gravity counteracts the effect of the spin and prevents it from curving upward, the ball appears to travel in a straight line. If you throw an overhand curve, the ball actually spins in the opposite direction. The spin goes forward, which causes the ball to curve downward. Since the ball is curving toward the ground, gravity does not prevent it from curving. It actually helps it. Our machines make the ball curve by putting different spins on the ball. On a BATA-2 this is done by setting one wheel to rotate faster than the other.

How does a single-wheel machine like the B1-Curveball throw a curve?

It is done in much the same way as it is done on the BATA-2, except that instead of one wheel going faster and one wheel going slower, you have one wheel rotating, and a compression pad that does not move, which would be the equivalent of a second wheel which was not rotating at all (which would represent the slower wheel). All of the spin is produced by the one rotating wheel, which basically rolls the ball off of the compression pad. If you have the wheel below the compression pad, the spin goes backward, and the machine throws a fastball. If you rotate the head of the machine so that the wheel is above the compression pad, the spin will go forward, and the machine throws a curve. The machine may also be tilted so that the spin is more sideways, making the ball curve more to the side, rather than just straight down.

Which BATA machine throws the best curveball?

The B1-Curveball, the Sidewinder, and the 2Pitch3 throw the hardest breaking curves. Because there is only one wheel, the wheels on these machines spin much faster than the wheels on the BATA-2. This, combined with the fact that the compression pad is equal to a wheel spinning at zero speed, the B1, the Sidewinder, and the 2Pitch3 put more spin on the ball than the BATA-2. The advantage the BATA-2 has over the other three machines is that with the BATA-2, you can throw breaking balls with varying degrees of break. In other words, you can throw a curve or slider that breaks a little, or a lot.

Which machine is best for grounders and flies?

The BATA-2 is the best machine for fielding practice. The 2-wheel design allows you to put any amount of spin on the ball that you want. So, if you want to throw flies, you can set it to have a slight amount of backspin to simulate a realistic flyball. If you want to throw grounders, you may want to set it to have a slight amount of forward spin.

Which machine is best for softball?

The BATA-2 and the Twin Pitch are the best machines for softball. The 2-wheel design of the BATA-2 allows you to regulate the amount of spin on the ball, so you can throw pitches that “rise”, sink a little, sink a lot, tail, etc. The Twin Pitch allows you to throw a fastball and a change-up in one set up.

What maintenance is required on the pitching machines?

The only maintenance, really, on our machines is to make sure that nothing has loosened up. Check the nuts and bolts on a regular basis. Other than that, as long as you keep the machine dry and relatively clean, it should last you a long time.

Can the machines be left outside?

Yes, as long as they are not allowed to get wet. These machines are electric and have solid-state components in the control box. Water can damage the components. If you do leave the machine outside, it must be covered well enough to keep it dry.

Do I need to put some kind of screen in front of the machine to protect it?

Yes, a screen is recommended. Our machines have heavy-duty steel plate in the front, but any line-drive hit can cause damage, especially to the Auto-Feeders. Protective screens are required when using an Auto-Feeder. The warranty does not cover damage from batted balls.

How long do the wheels last?

This depends on how much you use the machine, at what speeds, and what type of balls you use. Leather balls will wear out the wheels faster than dimpled balls. Higher speeds will wear out the wheels faster than lower speeds. Generally speaking, you can expect to throw somewhere around 150,000 pitches before you need to replace the wheels.

What parts wear out on the machines?

There are five things that will likely wear out over time. The wheels, the motors, the speed control circuit boards and switches, and the adjustment lock handles. However, our motors have been known to last over ten years with normal use.

How much do replacement wheels cost?

Replacement wheels cost $200 each for all machines.

How much do replacement motors cost?

Replacement motors cost $220 each on all machines.

Can BATA machines throw a “rise ball”?

Yes, and No. Yes, our machines CAN throw the pitch that people perceive to be a “rise ball”. No, there is actually no such thing as a “rise ball”. At least, not with a real baseball or softball. It would be nearly impossible to convince a softball player that the ball does not actually rise, but the fact is, it doesn’t. What people perceive to be a “rise ball” is a ball that starts at the knee and ends up at the shoulder, but actually arcs downward (a lot more than you might think). In order for a pitch to really be a “rise ball”, it would have to curve upward from its original plane. It doesn’t. In fact, our machines are able to put many times the amount of backspin on the ball than a human can. When we throw a 6½ ounce leather softball 65-70 mph from 43 feet, it actually sinks 6-12 inches. It may start out 2 feet high and end up 5 feet high, but the trajectory of the ball must be aimed at a point about 6-12 inches higher than the height where it ends up. If you saw this pitch, you would swear that it was a “rise ball”, when in fact it actually sunk about a foot. When we set up the BATA-2 to pitch an 85 mph fastball with a realistic amount of backspin for a fastball, the ball sinks 6-12 inches from 56 feet. Even a 95 mph fastball sinks 3-6 inches. So, how much does a curveball break (from 60 feet)? A good curveball actually breaks about 6 feet. That is to say, if you want the curveball to end up at 1 foot high when it crosses home plate, you would have to aim it about 7 feet high. These are not theories, they are measurements. They are data recorded from real tests using real balls at realistic distances at realistic speeds.

How many balls do the pitching machines hold?

The pitching machines do not hold any balls. The machine itself would have to be fed manually, one ball at a time, unless you use an Auto-Feeder. The pitching machines and Auto-Feeders are priced separately.

Which machines can be used with Auto-Feeders?

All of our machines can be used with our Auto-Feeders. We have a 20-Baseball / 15-Softball Combo Auto-Feeder that can be used to auto-feed either baseballs or softballs.

How does the feeder connect to the pitching machine?

Our feeders do not actually connect to the machines. They stand behind the machine on their own stand. When you purchase an Auto-Feeder, a Feed Chute Extension (transition chute) is included. This chute extension connects to the Feed Chute on the pitching machine. The feeder releases one ball about every 6 seconds, which then rolls into the transition chute and into the machine.

How long does it take to put up a BATA batting cage?

It takes two or three people about two hours to put up the frame, and about 1½ hours to put up the net the first time.

Are BATA batting cages portable?

No. Well, not really. Our cages can be set right on top of the ground if you wish. So, one could say that they are portable, but it would require disassembling the cage to move it.

How much does the BATA batting cage weigh?

It depends on the cage, but anywhere from about 300 – 500 pounds.

How do you set up a BATA batting cage without using ground sleeves?

Our frame kit is designed to have metal tubes running vertical, across, and longitudinally. Our frame fittings are made of heavy gage welded steel tubing, and provide superior sheer strength, which allows the frame to stand up on its own. Because there are tubes running in all three directions, ground sleeves are not required.

Does the net hang over the frame?

No. The net hangs inside the frame.

How is the net attached to the frame?

On our nets, there are thicker ropes woven into each corner. These ropes extend beyond the ends of the net about 4 feet or so. The net is tied off at the corners using these ropes. As you can see in the photo, there are several smaller ropes and metal clips holding the upper edge of the net to the longitudinal tubes. We call these hangers. They help to keep the net pulled tight, and prevent it from sagging.

How long does it take to get a machine, feeder, or batting cage?

We ask that you allow 14 days for delivery. Usually, we can get it to you much sooner than that, depending on your geographic location.

Are there distributors in my area?

There are no BATA distributors. There are other companies that buy and resell our products. We call them dealers or brokers. Dealers do NOT carry the products in stock. They simply order them from us and have us drop-ship them to you.

Where can I go to look at BATA products?

As stated above, there are no dealers that carry our products in stock. The only places where our products can be viewed are at our production facility, on the internet, or in use on a field or batting cage somewhere.


ATA Baseball Machines, Inc. was founded in 1991. Since then, BATA machines have steadily become recognized as the best pitching machines on the market. Our machines are used by several pro organizations, including the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Whitesox, Anaheim Angels, Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners.

We are asked this question often, so we are thankful for the opportunity to explain the differences.

There are five important factors to consider when evaluating a pitching machine:

  • The type of construction. BATA machines are made of solid steel. There are no sand-castings or plastic on the frames or stands.
  • The motors and electronics. BATA uses only high-quality US Made, permanent magnet DC motors and solid-state electronic controls.
  • The wheels. As explained below, BATA wheels are the most effective design.
  • Ease of use. BATA machines are simple to set up, easy to adjust, easy to transport.
  • Capacity. We have machines suited for players of all levels, priced accordingly.

ACCURACY – BATA machines are the only machines that use our unique Goodyear Rubber Soft Tread pitching wheels. Our Soft Tread wheels are solid, die-cast, flat-faced rubber treads, molded and vulcanized onto a machined aluminum core. The result is better accuracy, more speed, and better consistency than competitive brands.

How are BATA Soft Tread wheels better than the JUGS or ATEC wheels?

  • JUGS wheels are pneumatic (air-filled) tires, mounted on a stamped, metal rim, (the type that are used on trailer wheels). Stamped rims do not run as true as machined rims. The contact surface of the pitching wheel is convex (rounded). The faster the JUGS wheel rotates, the more convex, and therefore, less accurate it becomes. JUGS wheels have more side to side run-out and more radial run-out, which leads to less accuracy. Maintaining proper air pressure is also a big concern with pneumatic tires. BATA wheels are machined and die-cast, so they start out with a precise, consistent shape, they maintain their shape regardless of the speed, and they are precision balanced to within 1 gram per foot. This makes BATA wheels run smooth and true.
  • ATEC wheels are made with a concave tread, molded onto a solid rim. However, because of the deep concave, at the center of the concave (where the most compression occurs) the tread is less than 3/8 inch thick. This design does not provide enough compression to accommodate a hard baseball. The effect of this would be excessive flexing of the motor shaft inside the motor, and therefore, premature motor failure, less accuracy, and less consistency. If you ask ATEC, they will tell you that they do NOT recommend using real leather baseballs in their Casey machines. BATA wheels are designed to throw real leather balls (and dimpled balls).

 What advantages do BATA machines have over JUGS or ATEC machines?

  • The BATA 2Pitch3 machine is capable of throwing up to a 95 mph fastball and a 75 mph curveball in one set up. Batting off of this machine is like batting off a pro pitcher.
  • The BATA 2Pitch Sidewinder is similar to the 2Pitch3, except that the maximum speed on the Sidewinder is 70 mph on both pitches, and the Sidewinder can pitch left or right handed.
  • The BATA Twin Pitch machine can also throw two different pitches in one set up. A fastball and changeup, or two fastballs to different locations. Ideal for softball.
  • Neither JUGS nor ATEC has a machine in the 2-pitch category.
  • BATA Automatic Ball-Feeders are a better value.
    For about the same price, the BATA Automatic Ball-Feeders can hold up to 20 baseballs or 15 softballs, compared to JUGS’ feeder which holds only 18 baseballs or 14 softballs. They do not have a feeder that does both baseballs and softballs, so you would have to buy two separate feeders (for twice the cost) to equal the BATA Automatic Ball-Feeders.
  • The BATA B1-Curveball machine is the ideal “in-between” machine. It is capable of throwing fastballs, curves, and sliders, and is an economically priced single-wheel model. JUGS does not have a machine in this style.
  • Our best-selling machine, the BATA-2, tops the other brands in several areas. It is more accurate and easier to operate than the JUGS. Whereas the JUGS has one ball-joint that controls all three adjustment axis’, the BATA-2 has three independent pivot locks. This allows you to adjust one axis without disturbing the others. The BATA-2 also has built-in transport wheels, so you don’t have to roll it on the pitching wheels to transport it as you do with the JUGS. Not to mention that the BATA-2 weighs about 1/3 less than the JUGS.
  • BATA-2 has more capacity than the ATEC Casey. As explained above, BATA-2 is made to throw real leather baseballs. ATEC Casey is not. BATA-2 has more speed than the ATEC. And, BATA-2 Combo is priced hundreds less than the others’ combo baseball/softball models.

Bottom line, BATA gives you more machine for your money.

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  • Matt Kiley