In this breakdown of the Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine, we review what it brings to the table and how it stacks up against the competitors.
Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5
The Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine is a hefty investment; it’s one of the most expensive pitching machines on the market. But that’s because it’s also one of the most advanced.
Like most pitching machines, it can throw straight fastballs for consistent strikes. Unlike most, it can also throw risers and curveballs that break left and right—all at a velocity upwards of 60 mph.
It’s not just for batting practice, as it easily pivots to help your players develop their defensive skills. The Junior Hack Attack fires grounders, pop-ups, and long fly balls up to 175 feet. At 75 lbs, it is definitely on the heavy side relative to many competitors; but the compact frame makes it portable as it should fit in any car.
Overall, this is a premium machine that delivers premium performance.
- Throws breaking balls in addition to straight fastballs
- Wide array of advanced features
- Three-leg design great for balance and simulating timing
- Excellent for practicing defense
- Intuitive screen to sort between different pitches and modes
- Very expensive; one of the priciest on the market
- Can be difficult to assemble
Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine made it into our selection of:
Should You Buy the Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine?
- If your players are ready to start facing a more advanced pitch selection
- You want a pitching machine that delivers holistic defensive practice in addition to batting practice
- You’re willing to pay a premium price for high-end features
- If you’re shopping on a budget and focused on value-for-price
- If you want a manual machine that doesn’t need to be powered by batteries or generators
Features – 4.6 out of 5
Here we have the main selling point of this model—the Junior Hack Attack has, bar none, some of the most advanced features on the at-home pitching machine market.
Where standard at-home pitching machines only throw straight fastballs, the Junior Hack Attack throws curveballs, risers, split-fingers, and even knuckleballs. They do all of that with a velocity that reaches upwards of 60 mph.
Three dials are used to control the break and velocity of the pitches. A very detailed chart next to these controls that show you the settings required for each type of pitch. A fourth dial controls the pitch’s elevation, and a fifth that moves the pitch location from the inside to the outside of the plate.
The pitching head also has extra weight to reduce recoil and increase location consistency. When you pivot to defensive practice, you can loosen a crank, which will allow for a bit more variance for fungo work.
Portability – 4.1 out of 5
The Junior Hack Attack is quite hefty at 75 lbs, but has a frame that should fit in most midsize cars, and has large wheels that help you move the machine on foot.
While the 75 lbs may be intimidating at first glance, the Junior Hack Attack is a pitching machine that should be relatively comfortable for one adult to move from place to place. Thanks to the large transportation wheels, the only time you would ever have to lift it is in and out of your car.
Durability – 3.8 out of 5
While any automatic machine with loads of moving parts will have durability concerns, the Junior Hack Attack has features built-in to help increase its longevity.
The machine features a three-wheel launch design, which reduces wear and tear on the mechanism. Wear and tear is one of the most significant areas of concern for standard automatic pitching machines, so Junior Hack Attack went out of their way to address this.
While there are still several things that can go wrong, Junior Hack Attack customers should feel relatively confident in their purchase lasting for years.
Safety – 4.0 out of 5
The Junior Hack Attack has guards built-in over the throwing wheels, reducing the chances of getting caught in the mechanism.
Automatic at-home pitching machines pose a rare but severe risk of injury if a child gets a body part or clothing stuck in the launch mechanism. The Junior Hack Attack, though, has wheel guards to prevent that from happening as much as possible.
The biggest concern, then, is with kids getting hit by pitches. Make sure you have the machine aimed properly, and only use breaking balls against children who are ready to face them.
Ball Types Used
The Junior Hack Attack has a very narrow range of balls to use—the softball version only works with standard-sized softballs, and likewise with the baseball version. Either version requires a conversion set to work with the other type of ball, and neither of them works with anything larger than a softball.
The Junior Hack Attack requires a 110-volt generator or battery pack to function, so you’ll need to purchase one of these before you’re ready to practice. For increased safety, you might consider a batting practice net as well, to protect the operator against sharp comebackers.
Why Buy the Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine?
Simply put, if you’re looking for bargains and values, this likely isn’t the product for you. However, if you have a developing young hitter who is ready to up their game, and you’re looking to invest in the best possible tool to help them do so. You’d be hard-pressed to do better than the Junior Hack Attack.
With its advanced array of pitch types and relatively high velocity, you can help your children and/or players grow accustomed to reading and reacting to breaking balls. That’s a key step in a player’s development and one that can be challenging to otherwise simulate. Plus, it is relatively portable, versatile, and comes with some useful safety measures.