My .02 cents, actually maybe a whole dollar, it's pretty long.
Wouldn't say your a monster in the least. It sounds like you have desired to stay educated to better help your son as well as other, I think that's awesome.
On the curveball at twelve, like GottyJ said, almost any kids that wants to pitch will also want to atleast play with the curveball, so in that sense you essentially guided the inevitable.
When they say wait till 16+ to throw the curveball two reasons generally come to mind:
1. So that you don't rely on it and develop a fastball.
2. So you don't get injured.
- It would appear your son has developed an excellent fastball, 88 as a junior is excellent.
- It would also appear your son hasn't injured himself and has probably passed the critical point with curveballs/growth plates closed (may be wrong on that one though, generalizing cause of age)
Also if his curve is devastating and effective I will assume it is a overhand hook going 12-6 or maybe 1-7. This is far different than the snapping slider style curve that is seen on so many little league fields.
As competetive as baseball is, where the best are going to get the most time, and the rest are to scrap for the rest of the avaliable time, a curveball is just logical to have taught. A fastball only gets you so far. A changeup for most people draws week contact, takes a very good one to draw many swings and misses. Thus a curveball is one of the most effective ways in youth ball to get the ever critical strikeout.
I'm sure I will get in a disagreement with atleast one person for saying this, but I actually think more damage is done to the arm by throwing way to many pitches, far to often, with little rest. And this damage is multiplied when throwing a curveball.
I just had to touch on Little League World series since GottyJ mentioned it.
This is what i see as damaging and terrible for arm health. I've seen multiple kids throw well over 50% curveballs. I've seen maybe 2 kids in all the regional championship games that actually throw a good curve that they will be able to use down the road. The lazy one plain slider/curve will get knocked all over the park when you get older. Also I've only noticed 1 kid actually utilizing a "changeup" but I use that loosely because the announcer explained it was really a knuckleball (Probably just didn't move). Also these coaches are planning to use their one kid, and have yet to see a pitcher use his defense, it's 2-2 counts atleast every hitter. This means rediculously high pitch counts.
I was temporarily impressed today a kid pitching in the mid-atlantic region threw basically all fastballs. Then he started walking people (had little sense for placement just throwing). The coach came out and said now it's time to focus on your braking ball we're going to throw it a lot more now.
I didn't care for that in the least.
The one that bugged me the most was a kid throwing absolutely crazy fast, he hit 83, multiple times in the game, yet he still threw a ton of curveballs. (He did have a good overhand one though).
Now that that rant is over, I have to say, those Little League radar guns have to be bumped a few mph or something, I have seen a 12 year old throw 81,82,83 (laugh if you want but, he was on the cover of our sports section to, not just an urban legend lol) Anyways this kid gave up one hit his entire season. I've even talked to an umpire that said he called balls and strikes by where the catcher caught it becuase he really couldn't see it consistently coming in.
When I was twelve I hit against quite a few kids throwing mids 60's, they were dominant, lots of K's mostly all fastballs, I don't see how a kid throwing 80 is even hittable, let alone why they need curveballs. I know 80 is somewhere to the Major League equivalent of 103. Major leaguers get blown away by 103, and their reaction and time to contact is around half of the time it would take a little leaguer. Anyone got an answer on that one?