# Just a question or two

#1

OK, so at the risk of being considered one of “those dads” curiosity has gotten the better of me. And I do understand that kids mature at different rates and my son may just be ahead of the curve right now and may well not make the HS team.

So, at 10 my son throws, without just blowing himself out, 55-60 mph. He does struggle with control but hasn’t had any real instruction until now. So is that a decent speed for his age?

As to hitting, his HR’s are going 220+ when he tags it, which isn’t uncommon. That I know is pretty impressive, but I’ll admit I’m interested to know how that stacks up to what some of you are seeing.

I’ve resisted posting this as long as I can, and I know that’s not really what this forum is for, but it does get far and away the most traffic. I understand as well as anyone he’s just 10, but inquiring minds want to know, how does that rate. Thanks

#2

Here is what Michael J. Axe, MD, has published about youth pitchers and velocity expectations for 8 - 14 yo pitchers:

Age 8: Ave vel = 40 mph. 34% of 8 yos (1 std dev) will throw 43 mph. 13.6 % of 8 yos (2 std dev) will throw at 47 mph. 2.1 % (3 std dev) will throw at 50 mph. 0.1% (4 std dev) of 8 yos will throw at 54 mph. The 1-in-a-million category (0.00006 % or 5 std dev) for 8 yo pitchers is 57 mph.

Age 9: Ave vel = 43 mph. 34% will throw 47 mph. 13.6% will throw 51 mph. 2.1% will throw 55 mph. 0.1 % will throw 59 mph. 1-in-a-million will throw 63 mph.

Age 10: Ave vel = 46 mph. 34% will throw 50 mph. 13.6% will throw 54 mph. 2.1% will throw 58 mph. 0.1% will throw 62 mph. 1-in-a-million will throw 66 mph.

Age 11: Ave = 48 mph. 34% will throw 48. 13.6% will throw 52. 2.1% will throw 60. 0.1% will throw 64. 1-in-a-million will throw 68.

Age 12: Ave = 50 mph. 34% will throw 55. 13.6% will throw 60. 2.1% will throw 65. 0.1% will throw 70. 1-in-a-million will throw 75.

Age 13: Ave = 54. 34% will throw 59. 13.6% will throw 64. 2.1% will throw 69. 0.1% will throw 74. 1-in-a-million will throw 79.

Age 14: Ave = 60. 34% will throw 66. 13.6% will throw 72. 2.1% will throw 78. 0.1% will throw 84. 1-in-a-million will throw 90 mph.

I have not researched Axe’s methodology enough to know how accurate these numbers are likely to be; however, I am not particularly surprised by the numbers. They were given to me by someone who is in a position to use them professionally for projecting the future ability of prospects.

Let it be noted that these numbers do not square with what most dads, and most youth pitchers, believe about themselves. In fact, most peoples’ subjective opinion about their son, or themself, appears to bump them up by 5 - 10 mph, almost automatically.

However, these numbers do not refute the possibility of any individual kid being in the 4 or 5 std dev groups–they are like actuarial tables…the numbers merely suggest that there are very, very few individuals in those elite groups.

And, these numbers also suggest (against, for example, common experience on the internet) that there might be some occasional exaggeration of kids’ abilities.

I have had recent occasion to gun (tuning-fork calibrated Stalker 2) quite a few SF Bay Area JUCO pitchers. These are very reasonable JUCO programs, well-known for sending their grads to D1 and D2 4 year colleges and, in a few cases, directly to pro baseball. Somewhat surprisingly, most of these guys are throwing in the mid-to-high 70’s. 80 to 85 is probably the 13.6% bracket for these 18-22 year old guys and 90 is rare, probably 1 or 2% of these guys.

Obviously, the higher up you go…the higher density of velocity-gifted individuals you will find in good programs. On the other hand, each level of baseball has its average velocity, and a bunch of std dev groups below and above the average. To find a home among the average or below-average velocity pitchers at each level of baseball, an emphasis on pitch command, variety, and wisdom may help a lot.

#3

we had a group of 10 yr olds win the national tournament and another team from tulsa make the final 4. we had two kids who could throw 60+. and the other team had 3 with one in the mid 60s.

2 of the kids made the area code games as freshmen throwing legit 90 (i held the gun) which is rare. one throws mid to high 80s, and 2 of them struggle to hit 80 as high school sophomores.

4 additional sophomores grew and are throwing mid 80s consistently, and they were good but not great in the youth leagues. it’s just hard to predict.

the stats you posted look about right. they are taken from representative samples of youth league pitchers and then placed on the normal curve which is good.

#4

That’s very good.

As you know about the maturity issue I would try not to place a whole lot on where he is at now. Yes enjoy it, and be proud of him but more importantly make sure he continues to develop as he grows older.

It’s very easy to become enamored with what kids are doing at young ages. Only to find them dropping off as they get older, and the competition gets tougher. It’s a long road this game of baseball.

Keep up the good work though. Sounds like he is on the right track.

#5

[quote=“101mph”]That’s very good.

As you know about the maturity issue I would try not to place a whole lot on where he is at now. Yes enjoy it, and be proud of him but more importantly make sure he continues to develop as he grows older.

It’s very easy to become enamored with what kids are doing at young ages. Only to find them dropping off as they get older, and the competition gets tougher. It’s a long road this game of baseball.

Keep up the good work though. Sounds like he is on the right track.[/quote]

First, thanks for the replies everyone, and he was gunned, it’s not just what I think he might be throwing.

At this age you have to wonder is the kid just physically more gifted or just ahead of the curve. I’m sure those around him will catch up but how much I guess only time will tell. At this point most people around him would tell you if he has a chance at playing past HS it will be due to his abilities at the plate. We’ve not played at a national level, or close to it, but where we have there is no comparison to others when he’s at the plate. To be clear the 220 ft is in the air, not how far it rolls after it lands, and that was last year as a 9 yr old.

#6

Wow that is great. But it seems your very realistic, which is odd (but good) about your son. You understnad he could be ahead of the curve. He may stay like this or may not and its good you understand this.

You said your focusing on his mechanics by getting an instructor or something like that. This is good and it is always good to teach mechanics, control and movement. If he has great mechanics, control and movement he will be a GREAT pitcher if he has the velocity (that he does have now) or a good pitcher without velocity, if he stops growing.

You seem to be on the right track with him and accepting reality. It is a lot easier to be realistic with your son knowing how he could just be ahead of the curve. If he does fall behind and you can’t accept it that can be very hard on him if you expect more than he can dish out. (just read the mental game of baseball, the chapter on expectations was very good).

But enough negatives your son is ahead of the curve, take advantage of that and pride him on it and his success.

#7

Heres a good example of the mentality you need to make it big. This is a quote from a Yankees minor leaguer who has been talked about to be capable of taking Rivera’s huge spot as closer when he retires, this is what he said.

[quote]“I think it’s able to be done, so I’m excited for that,” Melancon said. “I’m excited that people are throwing that out there, but I know it’s not true until I make it true.”

With only a season and a half of professional experience, Melancon knows that the Yankees aren’t about to hand him the task of replacing a legend. But Melancon believes he is in Spring Training competing for a Major League bullpen job, and the soft-spoken Coloradoan is not shy about stating his designs of making it to New York in 2009.

“I knew this year would be a good opportunity for me to possibly get in and have a shot at making the team,” Melancon said. “I think I’m ready. I still think I have a lot of learning to do. I’m definitely not at the level that I want to be at.”[/quote]

Seems he is willing to always get better and understands how much better Mariano is than him but is still willing to work at it.

A few steps ahead of your son but you should still keep it in the back of your mind.

#8

if you are thinking about your son playing past high school, there are 2 books you need to read. the first is titled talent is overrated by colvin. it talks about what it takes to be world class at anything. bottom line is 7 to 10 years of hard work.

the second is titled outliers by malcolm gladwell. it talks about the same things. studies tiger woods and the beatles and theories about why they became so good.

#9

My Son is now 10 but when he was on the gun last He was 9 and topped out at 53 on His fast ball and 47 on His change up. I have not had Him on the Gun since then Also he tells Me that when He throws His Two seam if He throws it to fast it straightens out. We have been working on being more compact and consistent with His motion as opposed to maxing out on all His pitches. He is one of 5 10 year old playing in Majors this year so We will see how it goes.

#10

Your excitement about your son’s latent potential is natural. However, it can be unproductive if you begin habitually comparing your son with others of his own age group. This will be magnified when you begin traveling as the competition gets better. When you begin discussing it with your son, things can turn in a direction that might not be in his best interest. I remember a certain ride on the interstate returning from a game when I unleashed a tirade about his potential and him letting me down. He was nine years old at the time! At age eighteen now, since that day he has never heard another word of comparison to others his age from me. The truth is, you need not ever verbalize it because the kid will be making those comparisons himself until the day he stops playing the game.

It is more beneficial to compare him to himself. In other words focus on his improvement and development on a time scale. What other kids his age are doing is only a snapshot and not really helpful. Keep a video catalog along the way and help him reflect on his progress.

The problem with comparisons to other players is that it inevitably focuses on his potential and what you might expect to accomplish. Setting a goal is good but have a short term one in mind that he is definitely capable of accomplishing and then a long term one that is more ambitious.

I sometimes have trouble staying on topic, sorry for that.

The comparisons seem to always focus on velocity and that is tragic in a way. We’d be much better without the stalker and the juggs gun for the most part. Then we could focus on getting batters out.

#11

[quote=“Dino”] I remember a certain ride on the interstate returning from a game when I unleashed a tirade about his potential and him letting me down.
[/quote]

No,no,no. My son has never, and will never hear a tirade from me, that’s for the coaches. I’m here as a shoulder to cry on/ person to vent to. Look, I didn’t play pro sports and I’m a pretty happy person, plus the kid is close to straight A’s with little to no help from me or mom, so it’s not like if he doesn’t make it “big” at sports it’s McDonald’s for him.

The kid is just a natural at every sport he’s tried, but baseball, especially at the plate, has been the one where’s he’s stood out, and I just got curious. The kid is 10, 5’ 2" and 105 lb without an oz of fat on him so it’s not like he’s some big overweight kid who’s riding his size for the time being.

Anyway, if anything I worry about him getting himself hurt and that bring sports to an end. I heard a guy say one time, some kids play the piano and some kids will chew the legs off it. That’s my son, except then he’ll attach wheels and try to jump it over our lake. :nono:

#12

Ha you are on the right track. The only time I could ever see comparing a kid to someone else would be in later years of high school and to show him the other competition and what he might see in college depending on how bad the talent is in his area. But that is a long ways away.

#13

Like I said, I just got curious.

As for comparisons, I’m sure my son does that every time he steps on the field.

Thanks for the replies everyone, I really do appreciate it. You’ve answered my questions and given me some things to think about.

#14

I wish you the best. You are going to really enjoy watching that kid play baseball. Savor every minute.