If it’s time for your all-star little league player to practice their swing, better start by searching the best MLB-quality pitching machines on the market. In our Franklin MLB Pitching Machine review, we consider the pros and cons of this system and what to look for when comparing features.
The overall score: 7/10
There is plenty to like in this affordable class product. The combination of a flashing light, seven-second pitch timing, adjustable angles, and an auto-loading shoot provides little league players the quality training they need.
Low cost but with consistent quality is enough to satisfy parents and keep children interested in the game, even during the off-season.
- Pitches ball every seven seconds for active practice
- A flashing red light indicates when the pitch is incoming
- Easy to adjust the height of the unit
- Includes six aero strike balls but holds up to nine
- Total speed is approximately 20-30 mph from about 30 feet
- Plastic balls are easy to destroy
- Balls sometimes get stuck when reloading
- Pitches are more random than customizable
Franklin MLB Pitching Machine made it into our selection of:
Should You Buy the Franklin MLB Pitching Machine?
- If your star player needs practice in handling multiple angles
- Your player needs experience with fast and continuous swings
- You want to surprise your star player with an affordable and MLB-sanctioned practice machine
- If players are over the age of 12, they may prefer the real thing to lightweight plastic
- If you want to improve technique, it’s time for a bigger investment
What’s in the Box?
- Franklin Sports Kids MLB Electronic Machine (7.75 x 9.5 x 9.875)
- Flashing light indicator, built-in
- Six AeroStrike balls
- Adjustable height, with three distinct pitching angles
The Franklin MLB Pitching Machine is a training tool for future MLB superstars, one that’s both inexpensive yet a surprisingly flexible machine.
Despite being for ages 11 and under, the Franklin MLB Pitching Machine packs a good throw, clocking in about 30 miles per hour for average distances. Your star player has seven seconds to get into position, watch for the flashing red light, and then take a swing.
For an affordable machine, the unit is flexible, offering three different angles and an adjustable height of pitch, so you and the batter can work on a variety of angles. Set up is easy, and the machine doesn’t require any heavy maintenance or setup.
After batting, balls return to the machine when someone loads them back into the shoot for quick loading and re-pitching. Up to nine balls are active in one session.
Measuring 9.5 L x 9.875 W x 17.75 H, the unit is easily transportable by adults and some older children. Internal parts are lightweight, less than two pounds in total. Battery-powered performance allows the machine to work anywhere from an indoor gym or playroom, or even in the back yard.
The official MLB logo guarantees a minimum standard of high quality, and most reviewers agree the materials are durable when compared to other products in the same price range.
The machine’s tilting mechanism allows three angles of high, medium, and low. Changing settings does not wear out interior parts. Changing styles is easy and the flat body style makes the unit stable while shooting.
Recommended for children as young as six, assuming you use AeroStrike plastic balls, which are lightweight and mostly harmless. Still, for younger children, teach them to avoid looking directly into the machine.
Try to teach them the meaning of the red signal, so they always learn to anticipate when the ball is coming. For this system, the red signal doesn’t signify to get ready, but that the machine is already pitching.
Most reviewers agree that even if a kid got hit with a ball, it never caused any serious injury. The company does warn that replacing AeroStrike balls with real MLB style balls is not safe. Still, some smaller parts remain a choking hazard.
The product is not recommended for children under three.
Ball Type Used
Six white AeroStrike balls come with the machine. Plastic training balls are lightweight and are used for batting practice, or catching the 20-30 mph balls by hand. Since these balls are lighter, a windy day outside could affect batting performance.
Batteries do not come with the machine, so packs of 4 D-batteries are a must. Since the machine is fast and powerful, batteries don’t last a long time, which is sometimes a complaint with customers. Buy a few extra packs in advance to avoid any downtime.
While wooden or aluminum bats do work with the AeroStrike balls, the manufacturer’s plastic bats are recommended for the safest and most effective performance. Pick up some extra balls too of the AeroStrike brand for the best performance.
Why Buy a Franklin MLB Pitching Machine
The best reason to buy a Franklin pitching toy is to improve a young player’s batting accuracy and catching abilities. With three angles of height, the machine is adaptable to players ages 4-12 and can even be used as an adult if you’re trying to teach your child some basic moves.
You can also adjust the pitch’s distance to slightly alter the speed and try a different angle and pitching style. For example, 30 feet away may raise the mph speed to above 30, even though it is not made to go over 20 mph to ensure safety.
The flashing light is also an effective teaching tool for keeping players focused and paying attention to pitch movement.
While pitching accuracy is not the Franklin Pitching Machine’s purpose, and it can veer off course at times, keep in mind that this affordable machine costs just over $30. Compared to $1,000 model machines built for realism and better accuracy, the Franklin model wins for an affordable price.
For a kid who’s just starting out and loves playing baseball, the Franklin Pitching Toy will keep them entertained all season long.