Is there a difference in pitching or batting technique that explains the modern use of shin guards by batters?
Photo Bill Stanton: Checkswing.com
Mike asked: Is there a difference in pitching or batting technique that explains the modern use of chin guards by batters? Equipment and game change?
Rick answrerd: Mike, thank you for your question.
I would say the change has come about as players have become bigger and stronger.
At one point in time, a pitcher throwing in the 90's was a rarity. Now, most all MLB pitchers will be in that range.
The speed and movement created can lead to more balls fouled downward, and with the increased pitch speed, as well as bat speed, the injury risk goes up.
A batter's leg from the knee down has no real muscle padding, and broken bones can occur from those foul balls.
Players in MLB have very lucritive contracts and time on the DL can decrease their stat output, as well as minimize their contribution to the franchise, both possible reasons why a player might choose to opt for the shin protection.
With the pad it may also provide some players with additional confidence that they will minimize a foul tip off the shin or top of the foot. Helps to clear that little doubt out of your head, so that you are able to concentrate fully on seeing the ball and putting a good swing on it, one of the tougher things to do in all of sport.
Yours in baseball,
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