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Pros: Lightweight, portable, self-powered, straightforward
Cons: Can be inaccurate, pitch variation minimal, maximum top speed of 45mph
Bottom line: The Louisville Slugger UPM45 is highly recommended for those who want to get into baseball. It might be the perfect machine for coaches who get involved with little league games, as children can really benefit from the machine’s features.
Manufacturer: Louisville Slugger
Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine Review
Most beginner players of baseball freely admit that they’re terrified of being hit by the ball. Thankfully, the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame can eliminate that fear, as it’s the ultimate training tool for beginner batters. Its ease of use can help anyone who’s just starting out to someone who plays professionally and wants to keep himself from getting rusty.
Aside from being used by numerous major and minor baseball leagues in America and Canada, the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame officially serves as the preferred pitching machine of the Babe Ruth League and Pony Baseball and Softball.
It’s designed for use by batters aged 6 years old and up, as it is an ideal tool for training that assists players and coaches in effective batting practices and coaching for pitch games. Check out this video on the UPM 45 in action:
Main features of the machine include:
- Lightweight at 25 pounds, making it portable and easy to lug around
- Can pitch different kinds of balls without damaging anything
- Pitch and speed can be adjusted easily
- Uses spring tension and doesn’t rely on batteries and electricity to operate
- Made to last with high quality and sturdy materials
- Throws accurate and consistent fly balls, hard grounders, and pitches
Professionals and coaches recommend the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine thanks to its countless features and benefits. Below is a list of the reasons why it’s preferred and highly-rated.
Best for beginners
Pitches are thrown by the machine at a speed of 18-45 miles per hour. Live pitching can incite fear in beginners, but the speed adjustment feature allows a slower pitching speed that allow them to develop their swing path. Trainers and coaches don’t have to worry about throwing the ball by themselves to help kids practice. Also, having a machine like the UPM 45 throws consistent pitches, letting learners predict how a ball gets thrown at them.
Most pitching machines require electricity or batteries to function. This is what sets the UPM 45 apart from other machines as it’s operated by manual spring tension. You no longer have to worry about finding an outlet or carrying extra batteries during practice. Another benefit is that being manually operated; the system isn’t as complicated as electrically operated machines.
Made out of high-quality and sturdy materials
Most online reviews of the Louisville Slugger UPM45 commend how it’s built to last. True enough, all materials used for constructing the machine are high quality and are quite sturdy. Expect to spend years using the UPM 45. The spring mechanism can be used for more or less 20,000 pitches and even if it does give out, replacement parts are sold separately.
Portable and easy to lug around
Parents and coaches tend to favor machines that are easy to carry around, especially for away games and batting practice. The UPM 45 is only 25 pounds and can fit in the trunk of a car when folded.
Ability to practice with all types of balls
Most pitching machines can only throw one or two kinds of ball, even the more fancy ones! With the UPM 45, you don’t have to worry about what kind of ball to use. You can load it with baseballs, wiffle balls, or softballs and you won’t have any issues.
Pitch location and velocity can easily be adjusted with the UPM 45. Some pitching machines can only throw level strikes, but not with this one. It can be used to throw fly balls and hard grounders during field practice. Pitch can be adjusted using the spring lever and adjustment block to be thrown at a speed range of 18-45 miles per hour.
Easy adjustment and operation
Even a person who has never played baseball in their whole life can operate the UPM 45. In order to make a pitch, a ball is placed on the arm and is launched by stepping on the spring lever then releasing the handle. Aside from the speed of the ball, the height of a pitch can also be easily adjusted. The UPM 45 comes with a speed chart that showcases how the spring lever can be adjusted based on the preferred speed. Re-calibration isn’t needed after a pitch is thrown, as bolts and pins lock the lever.
Pros versus Cons
But of course, everything has its pros and cons, even for something like the Louisville Slugger UPM 45.
- Lightweight and portable. Can be put inside the trunk of a car for those who travel for practice or games.
- Doesn’t require electricity or batteries in order to function.
- All kinds of balls can be used and the UPM 45 doesn’t cause any damage. Some pitching machines for beginners can only pitch small plastic balls, unable to provide an authentic experience during practice.
- Operation and usage is straightforward. Making adjustments for pitch height and speed can also be done in a simple manner. The manual that comes with the UPM 45 is very user-friendly. With a few trials and errors, even the most inexperienced person can operate it effectively.
- The slight pitch inaccuracy provided by the manual spring tension of the UPM 45 is preferred by coaches because real-life pitchers never throws a pitch at the same point all the time, making things more realistic.
- There are times when balls don’t get into the strike zone and get thrown at a different angle from time to time.
- Adjustment for speed and height can get a little frustrating in the beginning, especially if the manual isn’t used as a guide during the first-time.
- Since the machine can only throw in speeds between 18-45 miles per hour, more experienced players might not enjoy pitching with it as it limits their abilities.
- It can’t throw curveballs and sliders, which might be an issue for advanced players.
- The price is a bit expensive, especially for a machine that’s manually operated.
Overall, the Louisville Slugger UPM45 is highly recommended for those who want to get into baseball. It might be the perfect machine for coaches who get involved with little league games, as children can really benefit from the machine’s features.