What is the difference between cage hitting and field batting practice? I have seen baseball players that were awesome hitters in batting cages. You couldn't throw the ball by them. They hit every ball hard.
To see if batting cage hitters are real hitters, we incorporate field batting practice with live pitching and situations after our batting cage practice.
We tell our baseball pitchers to mix in breaking balls and changeups and change fast ball speeds. We ask our hitters to execute hit and run plays, hitting the ball to the right side to advance a runner on second with no out, trying to lift the ball to the outfield with a runner on third and less than 2 outs to get the run home, and count hitting (2-0, 3-1, 0-1, 0-2).
The cage hitters' performances dropped like a bad stock. The real players got the job done and ultimately were successful in games.
Moral of the story: Don't get fooled by great cage hitting. It is only one of many teaching tools for youth baseball coaches.