Protective caps have been given the approval of Major League Baseball. Pitchers can begin wearing the caps in 2104.
“We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” Dan Halem, MLB executive vice president for labor relations, told ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we’re not stopping at all.”
Outside the Lines reports the following additional information:
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 miles per hour, below the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standard severity index of 1,200. Severity indexes higher than 1,200 are considered high-risk for skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. 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 caps are a little more than a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides — near the temples — than standard caps. They will weight three additional ounces. Currently the caps are not mandatory.