Is velocity everything?


#1

A funny conversation between me and a minor league pitching coach, as well as some data on fastball velocity in the big leagues:

If velocity ain’t everything, explain this!


#2

Great points!


#3

Kyle…

What do you think factors into the large increase in average FB velocity you stated?
Most MLB teams take a very conservative approach with training their pitchers, that would make one think velos would stay down. I think at least a solid chunk of the increase has to do with the game being opened up much more to international players. Or maybe it is players breaking away from what their teams have them doing and training on their own.
What do you think?


#4

I see velocity rising, but the usage dropping. It seems secondary pitches are being used more often. Am I reading it properly?


#5

Correct, that seems to be the situation.

[quote=“fearsomefour”]What do you think factors into the large increase in average FB velocity you stated?
Most MLB teams take a very conservative approach with training their pitchers, that would make one think velos would stay down. I think at least a solid chunk of the increase has to do with the game being opened up much more to international players. Or maybe it is players breaking away from what their teams have them doing and training on their own.
What do you think?[/quote]

I believe it has nothing to do with “player development.” Player selection highly prizes fastball velocity more than ever, so that is reflected throughout all levels of professional baseball.

Specialization also plays a role - the average number of innings pitched per game is going down, and with more relievers being used, fresh arms can be brought into the game. They know they have to face 3-5 batters, and the most common combination of pitches for a right-handed reliever is fastball/slider, so they throw at max effort and grab some pine.


#6

It’s possible. More and more batters are teeing off on the fastball and driving it greater distances, so the pitchers have to do something to counteract this tendency—therefore, there has been this tendency to use more breaking and offspeed pitches. For quite a few pitchers their #1 has been something other than the fastball. And there has been an increase in the number of pitchers who throw sidearm—and who use the crossfire on top of it, which combination makes many pitches virtually unhittable.
Yes, velocity is important—but it’s not the only thing. :baseballpitcher:


#7

What your saying makes sense Kyle, in particular the bit about specialization.
I read that FB velocities are higher in A ball than in the majors. I guess the approach is draft them if they can throw heat and figure out who can pitch.


#8

Great article Kyle


#9

Hitters have to respect the fastball more. The higher the velo the more respect in relation to the swing. If a guy is throwing 97 on his FB the hitter isn’t going to touch it if he isn’t sitting dead red.

This forced respect of the necessity of sitting FB makes offspeed pitches more difficult to time. specially when the offspeed is 86-88 with wicked movement.

you gotta love ++ velo.