Top critical review
9 month review
Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2017
***18 Month Update***
Since last review our Team has moved up to 12U. The dial is set to "9" now but to simulate the speed of the harder throwers we had to move the machine 5' closer to the plate (35'). At this setting the wear on the wheel has noticeably increased. So much so that I started looking for a replacement wheel. To my surprise a replacement wheel cost over half the price of a new machine. So now I'm stuck between dishing out the money for a new wheel (hoping the motor doesn't crap out), buying a new unit, or shelling out twice as much for a higher end machine. Knocking off a star from my initial rating as I consider it to be somewhat shady business to charge over half the price of the entire unit for a wear and tear replacement part. Equivalent of paying $15k + for new tires on your 18 month old car.
10U Travel team uses this machine in our 50' cage once a week over the past 9 months and glad to say we've had no issues. In the cage the machine is placed 40' from home plate. At that distance we set the dial to "8" and from there the machine simulates pitch at speeds similar to what the boys face during the game. Machine accuracy is not perfect, but it is close enough that the batters can get in the box comfortably without fear of getting hit by a random ball.
1. The legs that the machine comes with are too short to be able to use a pitching screen. We simply made longer legs out of HD conduit.
2. The machine head does not pivot left to right. To change location (inside or outside) of the pitch you must lift the unit and reposition it. Luckily the unit is light enough.
3. The wheel is made from solid rubber so it does and will mark up any ball you feed it. Also overtime the wheel wear down. The wear rate was was worse when we used real baseball's
4. Balls - we started with real baseballs and the unit pitched them just fine. But as stated above the wear on the wheel was very noticeable. We switch to McGregor dimpled balls and are quite happy with the quality of the balls amd wear rate of the wheel. We highly recommend the McGregor balls. The price point is significantly cheaper than other brands allowing you to buy more.