Opinion on success with low velocity?

Last season when I was in 8th grade I pitched for my jr. babe ruth team. I’m a lefty and I threw in the low to mid 60’s with my 4 seamer. I also threw a good curveball and a decent circle change that I threw to give a different look to the hitter. I also used a good pick off move that I picked off 5 base runners with. I did not throw hard for my league and I was often thought of a soft pitcher. We had 16 games and I started 7. My record was 6-0 with a 0.43 era. I averaged about 2 k’s a start and I definitly wasn’t putting k’s up on a regular basis but I was never hit hard and I had good control and I had tons of weak groundballs. I have done lifting and workouts and my velocity is up a bit. Does everyone think that it is still posible for me to dominate like this on my high school team this year even with a velocity that is below average?

I suspect that will depend on several things, first freshman squad, JV, Varsity, which are you speaking?
You sound like you are well educated in your art so that is a positive, lefty…yep thats gonna help, good pick off move…another plus.
Itown, you still have 4 years worth of development in which you can work on getting better, so yes I think you’ll be able to contribute at some level within your school. Your good attitude and intelligence makes you an attractive prospect so keep up the good work and stay focused.

you will get batters out if you know how to pitch and have good control. you might want to ether work on movement on your 4-seam fastball (which you might already have) and learn to your advantage the 2-seam fastball.

you can be 5-10 with a 80 mph fastball and no-hit a professional baseball league if you really know how to pitch.

I’m looking to make the jv team this year. I wanted to try to learn a two seamer considering that my four seamer has late movement in on righties and that definitly contributed to my weak grounders to short and third. In every level of baseball for me I’ve heard that I’m very deceptive and that I hide the ball well so I’m hoping I can really use that to my advantage this season. I talked to another member of this board last night he recommended that I work on the length of my stride and leading with my hips more. Last season my stamina was a problem late in games because my velocity would go down and I’d start short arming the ball (this was rare though). I have been doing a lot of running. Which seemed to help the last time I had a session with my coach. Thanks you for the advice so far.

Don’t expect to have constant success, it’s how you learn. What you do after that lack of success will determine how much over-all success you do have. Baseball is all about adjusting. Like I said you have the right approach right now, work hard, keep your grades up and pay attention to coaching and you’ll do some real butt kicking.
Good Luck

Funny you say so. I am 5’11 170lbs and I have a 82mph consistant 4-seamer. I have hit 85mph a few times but not al the time. I rely on my 2-seamer and I have a weak curve. You just have to know how to locate the ball and when to throw an off speed pitch.

As for a pick off move, it is good to have a good one. I usually just do it to keep the runners close. Every now and then I’ll get one or two. I usually use my 2-seamer to pick up my K’s. It has good down and in movement…but hang in there you’ll do fine.

As a pitcher don’t be too worried about moving up to JV. As a pitcher you need to get innings more than face tougher hitters. Most coaches will not move a pitcher up unless they really need him to win games at the higher level or he clearly belongs ahead of the pitchers at that level, and who needs to win games at the JV level?

Let me convey a story that I hope won’t be too long …

In 1992, my very small D-1 school played against Indiana U. That year, Indiana was ranked and had TWO players hitting over .500 for the year (Mike Smith and Kevin Orie, who eventually played for the Cubs). We had one of our more reliable, but unspectacular, seniors on the mound. He was 5’10, 175 lbs., and his 4-seamer (which he almost never threw) topped out at 82 MPH. However, he threw a sinker that had a lot of movement, for PRECISE strikes on both sides of the plate — generally around 78-79 MPH — and mixed in a decent change-up, a slow curve, and a very occasional slider.

He changed speeds on Indiana’s big hitters all day and held them to only 3 runs in seven innings of work (we eventually lost 4-2).

Now, this may have been the game of his life but it wasn’t out of character … he pitched for 3 years at the D-1 level and was very effective and successful, often against future MLB players (Orie, Mo Vaughn, Craig Biggio, John Valentin, and John Mabry were a few of the guys he faced and retired in his career) despite rarely breaking 80 MPH. You wouldn’t know his name because he never set any records or went to the pros, etc. … but my point is, he’s a prime example of someone succeeding BEYOND HS without throwing very hard. In other words, velocity is nice if you have it, but not necessarily essential to succeed.

Of course, it would have been a lot easier to point out Jamie Moyer, Tom Glavine, or many of the other soft tossers in MLB now, but even those guys threw 90+ at some point in their amateur careers — so it’s hard to relate to them in a similar way.

Also, as JD said you still have many years to develop and improve. Another real world example: I played HS ball against Ron Villone, who pitched in middle relief for the Yankees last year. As a HS senior, Villone was not even the third-best pitcher on his team (at a public school in NJ, not exactly a hotbed of HS baseball), and scouts consistently clocked him between 82-84 MPH … and he was the same size as he is now, about 6’3", 230 lbs. of muscle. It wasn’t until his senior year at UMass that “it all came together” and he was gassing it up at 97-98 MPH and was a first-round draft pick, eventually making it to the show. So anything can happen as you grow, learn, and continue to work hard.

I have to say ltownindians07, that we sound exactly alike. Im a freshman this year and rely on slower pitches and ground balls. i think my fastball maybe tops at 70 or so and i throw a knuckleball, change, and curve. my pick-off is also pretty good with the teams in my area only leading off about 3 feet when im on the mound. thought you might like to know that your not the only slow pitching lefty goin for jv this year.

In HS, speed isn’t everything – especially for lefties. Even beyond HS: as a lefty, you can have below average speed and still have a nice baseball career – and even pitch in college for a good program. At Division 1 Bradley Univ., in Peoria, Ill., where I went, we had a a couple of lefties that threw well-below average, yet they still pitched quite a bit. One was starter. The others were specialist relievers. None of them got drafted professionally, but they all really had a good time and probably wouldn’t have traded their college baseball careers for anything.

You really have an advantage being a lefty. And you can get away with being much slower than a righty. Keep working hard at your pitching. There’s such a need for good left-handed pitching in college and pro ball that I suspect you’ll have the opportunity to have a nice long career if you have a good attitude and work ethic – and if that’s what you really want to do.

By the way, you’ll hear a lot of guys talk about 90 mph being the “magical” number to get drafted. (That’s not entirely true.) But for a lefty, from my experience, the “magical” number is in the 85 to 87 mph range. But you’re going to have to have another excellent pitch such as the curveball.

So don’t compare yourself to righties. The standards are different. If you can pitch a little bit, you’ll be really successful.

something you DO have to work on when you’re a slow lefty is a really above average pickoff move. hey, the thing is going on right in front of you, so just learn to be quick and you wont get hat much stolen bases because of the poor lead the guys will take.

good story Joe.

When one goes back into the archives, there’s no telling what one will come up with. I was reading this series of posts, and it amazes me how so many pitchers are still hung up on the idea that if you’re not a fireballer no one will pay any attention to you. It just ain’t so. The major leagues have been, and are, loaded with good pitchers, both right-and lefthanded, who don’t have much in the way of speed but who compensate very nicely with a good arsenal of breaking pitches and the control and command—and lots of baseball savvy—to go with it. To name several: Harry Brecheen. Murry Dickson. Ed Lopat. Jamie Moyer. Those four were highly successful in the majors despite the lack of speed, because they knew how to outthink and outsmart the hitters. And there are more, too many to mention here. The point is simply this: If you have the stuff and the savvy, if you really know how to pitch, you can make the batters look awfully silly. So go to it, and don’t listen to the naysayers—many of them probably never stepped on a mound in their lives. :slight_smile: 8)