As Early As Spring Training, Padded Caps Approved By MLB For Pitchers

Paul Hagen shared on MLB.com, that Major League Baseball has approved padded caps for pitchers. This will be optional for pitchers but will give them an opportunity to decide if wearing the cap will be enough protection from dangerous line drives to the head. The new caps will be manufactured by isoBLOX.

Photo: AP
isoBLOX

The company explains on their website the science behind their product:

When impacting forces strike us, the ensuing energy must go somewhere, preferably not to our bodies. isoBLOX® uniquely formulated protective plates utilize a COMBINATION of energy dispersion AND energy absorption to diffuse impact.

Hard plates deflect initial impact and then subtly flex, via strong micro hinges, to absorb residual force. Only isoBLOX® proprietary, patent pending, hinged plates can offer this dual protection.

If the science behind the product actually works, then why wouldn’t a pitcher want the added protection. Over the past several years, there have been a number of pitchers getting hit by line drives to the head and like A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who needed brain surgery and the Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ, who suffered a cracked skull, the added protection should be taken seriously.

Brandon McCarthy, Derek Norris

MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations Dan Halem told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Tuesday, “We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria.”

Hagen shares that according to ESPN, Halem and MLB senior counsel for labor relations Patrick Houlihan said the threshold for approval was that the cap had to provide protection at 83 mph, and an MLB-commissioned study determined that 83 mph is the average speed of a line drive when it reaches the area of the pitching mound.

The last thing that a pitcher wants to worry about on the mound is getting hit anywhere on the body especially the head, but it has become part of the game and the easiest way to put it out of the minds of many people, is to provide something that pitchers can use. The cap looks just like a normal baseball cap, so a ball colliding to the face will not be deflected, but at least the head could avoid major impact.

One Major League pitcher feels that maybe it just may work, Dodgers Clayton Kershaw tells MLB Network, “I’ve actually tried one of those on. I’ve thrown with it. You don’t look very cool. I’ll be honest. You don’t look very cool out there. But technology is unbelievable and it really doesn’t feel that much different once you get used to it. Obviously it would be a change. We wouldn’t look the same as everybody else, but if you’re that one guy who gets hit what seems like every year, there’s that chance out there. I’m definitely not opposed to it. I think it’d take a lot of getting used to. I think it’s a great thing and a step in the right direction, for sure.”

I am all for the protection, and it will determine how comfortable the company can make it for each individual pitcher and if it fits like a normal baseball cap, then at the end of the day, it may just be worth it.

I actually tweeted a year ago, that I felt it was time to make a change:

I applaud how quickly MLB responded to the many requests for change and just in time for the new season.

(Photo Credit: AP and Ben Margot)

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About David Conde 205 Articles
David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan.
  • Benny

    Great decision!

  • Bromancer

    Particularly for our team, which projects to have an above average number of projectiles aimed at them.

  • This really makes the NFL look bad. Nice move Baseball!

  • Bail4Nails

    I don’t think Mejia will need that. Sweetest Fro in Baseball!

  • Bill Buckner

    Selig should make these mandatory for all pitchers. There’s absolutely no reason for someone to have his life changed forever because he was “too tough” to wear this. I can only imagine with our luck Harvey coming back in 2015 and taking a line-drive off the dome causing him to never pitch again…

  • It’s obviously much, much better than nothing but why would the goal be to have it protect the average speed when there will obviously be many shots quicker than the average. I would hope they’d look at something that eliminates an acceptable percentage of line drives or a speed in a higher percentile based on the typical range of speeds of line drives. If nothing exists, that’s fine, but the goal should be to eliminate the problem almost in full rather than only eliminate line drives that are average speed or below.

  • Justin Anthony

    I’m all for better protection. We’ve seen too many head injuries to pitchers over the past few seasons

  • Joey D.

    Have to applaud MLB on this one. The pitcher takes a risk every time he steps up to the mound – after his follow through there is maybe fifty five feet between him and a projectile that could be headed straight back at his head.
    We’ve all seen pitchers shelled. I remember back in 1964 in his last spring training tune-up, Carl Willey suffered a broken jaw from a liner off the bat of the Tigers Gates Brown and our best pitcher’s career was then over.
    So as said, even with the protective cap, pitchers will still be taking a tremendous risk unless some sort of protective facial covering can be developed that would not distract them from the art of pitching.
    Even if not feasible at this point for the professionals, I think an unbreakable mask should be used by pitchers in little league and not just the padded helmet with the side flaps.

  • CJM

    A good idea, but I’m sure pitchers will have too much hubris to take advantage.

  • coyote521

    Anybody who doesnt wear one of these should have their head examined.

    (Sorry).

    That not looking cool thing could be a deal breaker.

  • WillisReid

    This just makes me think of Wright’s post concussion batting helmet, and Keith insisting he looked like The Great Gazoo.

    Good idea, but it seems like the Olerud style helmet would offer more protection.

  • SpinalRemains

    E for effort and all, but am I the only one who thinks that cap wont do diddly squat if a fastball is lined back through the middle toward the head? I mean, I’d love for it to work, but I think this is more economically driven than practical. Look at it!

  • SpinalRemains

    Lmao! Yes! Thanks for making me laugh. His fro is definitely sweet.

  • Xavier 22

    It’s designed to absorb the impact of a ball travelling up to 85 MPH. Like a bullet proof vest, the wearer will still feel the impact and it may leave a mark, but it won’t crack the skull or worse, cause a TBI.

  • Xavier 22

    Agreed. It will start in the MiLB, where it will be mandatory. Once those pitchers come up to the MLB, you’ll start seeing it more and more.

  • SpinalRemains

    That padded cap will no way no how prevent a cracked or fractured skull. We’re talking about serious forces when a baseball is travelling upward of 98 mph back through the box.

    Would you get in the batters box wearing that?

  • Hotstreak

    Who is going to protect the batter from the pitcher: Even if with a helmet on aimed at the head.

    The so called victim is the guy you have to be ready for a high hard one which is way more frequent than a line drive to the head. Before the down votes remember the pitcher can easily throw a high hard one to the head while a batter can’t intentionally hit one back to the pitches head. Yes he can throw a bat.

    I am not advocating rules against pitching inside but not near the head.
    Who is going to protect the fan from a bottle thrown on his head.

    What is next mandatory goggles to prevent a Herb Score repeat?

    What I am posting is not necessarily my beliefs: I am just thinking out loud.

    Sort of Like Dennis Miller.

  • pastline63

    Bullet proof vests may stop penetration but most will cave in the vest into your chest cavity. No penetration but depending on Bullet speed and impact the blow can still kill a person.

  • pastline63

    Better then nothing but the faster the ball trajectory your still looking at a serious concussion.

  • Biggle Boy

    I predict that, eventually, pitchers will be mandated to wear something more protective than padding in their baseball caps. They’ll have to wear the same kind of hard hats that batters wear.

  • SpinalRemains

    True. Its definitely a right step. I’m just wondering if the helmet Olerud used to wear at first base would be a better option. Perhaps a good fitted one like a hardhat. That’s got to be better than padded. Jesus, think of Papi drilling one off the pad? If you’re going to make protection, make protection. Don’t make it half safe. That’s all I’m saying. There’s got to be a better solution.

  • pastline63

    It may be a stop gap product to alleviate legal issues, but your right don’t make it half safe. The Olerud way may be the next thing we see helmet worn at all times.

  • WillisReid

    Makes the most sense in my opinion. The 1B and 3B coaches already wear them for the exact same reason.

  • R04

    Shouldnt the risks a person takes be their own decision? Not too keen on being free, eh?

  • this isn’t going to work unless they make them mandatory. No one is going to voluntarily look like John Olerud except John Olerud.

  • no one will want to be “that guy” to be the first to wear one. While we’re busy freeing baseball players, let’s make uniforms optional too. What you have against freedom, man?

  • Is it too late to buy stock in isoBLOX??

  • E1Guapo

    MLB can probably draw from the NHL’s experience on this one. NHL slowly phased in helmets. I’m sure they’ll eventually phase in full face guards like college leagues and below.

  • Xavier 22

    A ball hit off a bat does not travel as fast as one thrown from a pitcher. It loses some speed through the sudden change in direction (i.e., going from 98 to 0 and then picking up acceleration again).

  • R04

    Idiotic comparison by an idiotic little man. Post less.

  • SpinalRemains

    There are many players in MLB who’s batted ball speeds exceed 100 mph.

    http://www.efastball.com/hitting/average-bat-speed-exit-speed-by-age-group/

  • Because what shirt you wear is more important than equipment designed to protect the owner’s investment? Forcing someone to protect himself (and the money he is guaranteed to make) is an inacceptable incursion on freedom but telling him what clothes to wear, what time he has to be at home, when to shave, etc is just different because you’re a foot stomping child and you say so! Angry and stupid is a dangerous combination, my friend.

  • Bill Buckner

    I’m all about freedom in most cases, but this is stupidity. Why do you think it’s required for all NFL players to have facemasks? Because the sport is so dangerous that it is very foolish not to wear one and owners do not want to lose their best players to season or career-ending injuries because they were “too tough to wear it”. This is the same case – no matter how quick you are, there is no way you are avoiding getting hit by a line drive that is traveling 100+mph over a distance of about 55 feet directly at your head. Mark my words – within 10 years all pitchers will be required to wear these hats just like facemasks are required by all players in the NFL and helmets are required for all players in the NHL…

  • Fast Eddie

    Is the site working?

  • Xavier 22

    That’s what i’m wondering. Wha’ppen? Please don’t make us go back to Metsblog. We like it here!