Size of a Pitcher


#1

I was just wondering what you all think as to if there is a true correlation between the size of a pitcher and their velocity. I’ve always heard that a larger frame will throw harder. However, in my case, I am 6’3" 190lbs but only throwing mid 70s. Most would agree that I should be throwing harder than I am. Do you all agree as well? But I have found it to be a struggle to make any velocity gains. Are there any ways you know to kick start a jump in velocity? And on the other hand there is a player on my team that is 5’9" 160lbs but can get in the upper 80s. I just would like anyone’s opinion on this topic.


#2

“It ain’t necessarily so…” True, there are a lot of pitchers six feet and above who throw hard—but there are also relative shrimps who can throw just as hard. And there are pitchers six feet and above who throw junk, just as there are those relative shrimps who do likewise. There really are no hard-and-fast rules. I remember one shrimp, Bobby Shantz, who was 5’6" if he was an inch, and he was one of the hardest throwers in the majors—what a fine pitcher he was. Also, some very tall pitchers are at a disadvantage for various reasons. You can teach everything about pitching except speed—that’s something that perhaps a pitcher has to be born with; maybe one can increase the speed to some extent, but 100 miles an hour or faster? I don’t think so.
I have no idea how old you are, but I do believe you could get up into the 80s—the important aspects are control and command of your stuff. Now, I was a real shrimp, 5’4" and 125 pounds, but my top speed was 86 MPH (a killer slider) and a good knuckle-curve (83 MPH), and the rest of my stuff ranged from 69 to 82—oh, yeah, I was one of those exasperating, crossfiring sidearmers, and I got along quite well for some 22 years. So don’t worry about it. Just work on making the most of what you have and can do.

Goddess of the Slider


#3

Thank you for the reply. I am currently 17 and would love to see my numbers in the 80s. To quote a scout “its velocity that gets you in the door, but its control and command that allow you to progress once you’re there”. That is my issue, there are no issues with my control or command of the strike zone, I consider myself to have good control with all 3 of my pitches as well, but I am never looked at due to sitting in the mid 70s.


#4

There is a general correlation.
But, as Zita said, there are plenty of examples of little guys that throw hard and big guys that float it up there. I went a D1 baseball this season with two good programs and they kept rolling guys out that were 6’ 4" or taller. The two biggest guys, 6’ 6" each, both threw 84 ish. The hardest throwing, sitting 89-91, was 6’ 1".
Obviously a lot more to the throwing hard than just being big. If it was just that MLB pitching staffs would look like NFL offensive lines. Unfortunately, the mechanics most guys learn coming up is to move slowly (up, down and out) to throw with control and not power. Youth coaches want kids who throw strikes to win games. Long run, this stunts development though.
So, you are good size. That is a good starting point. You will no doubt have to really re evaluate your mechanics and how you throw. Understand that making changes to mechanics or changing the intent level you pitch with can cause other temporary problems. Understanding your limitations (tight hips, one piece delivery, lack of external rotation etc) will go a long way toward giving you some things to work on. The hard part is doing the work to change them. As you know similar guys throwing 75, 82 and 89 can have very different post high school careers.
If you have no already, posting some video of you pitching can be helpful. There are some knowledge guys on here for sure.


#5

Thank you @fearsomefour, I know that not all pitchers can get up to 90 regardless of their size, but like you mentioned bigger guys throwing 84. I would still consider that fairly hard and would be satisfied if that was my velocity. Yes, I have posted some video a while back but I am going to post some new video soon. In your opinion, should I be throwing harder than I am? Would you anticipate a large mechanical flaw that has made it so difficult for me to gain velocity? I know these don’t have a black and white amswer but an opinion is appreciated.


#6

At 6’ 3" and 190 lbs I would anticipate you throwing harder…but that is a very generic answer to a generic question. Hard to say if there is a major limitation that is holding you back.
Repost the video and see what feedback you get. There are plenty of guys on here way better at that side of things than I.


#7

Exactly, my son who is 5’7" and weighs in at 145 pounds throws low 80s and he just turned 16. He struggled with his control, but he never got into trouble because, even though he walked runners, no one really got any hits off him.

Now, he’s only walking about 1 for every 4 Ks he gets. The kids are starting to hit his fastball, but he keeps them off balance with 2-seamers and curveballs for the 1-5 hitters due to the good movement he gets, and he throws strike one curve balls for the 6-9 guys who he then slips his 4-seamer past with ease.

His arm is also conditioned to throw 100 pitches without even thinking about getting tired.

I have total control over his mechanics, much to the chagrin of the up, down, out HS coaches you are referring to. I just tell them that my will is stronger than theirs and that they can sit my son at their own expense, but if I have to throw a long bullpen with him because he doesn’t pitch, then he’ll be lost to them for the next several days. That also gets him his innings on schedule. They hate my guts, but I don’t give a sideways crap about what’s on their minds.

I just keep pointing out to them, “Show me a kid on your staff who follows your mechanics and your time tables and throws harder than my son.” The conversation ends right there. I then offer to teach that coach’s pitchers for him and he walks away.

I’m such a tool when I need to be.


#8

Good job Coach Paul!'
I wish I would learned that sooner. My son would no doubt be in a better spot than he is.


#9

Looking through an old (1953) Yankees yearbook, I noticed several pages in which Yankees stars offered playing tips for youngsters. Here’s what Allie Reynolds had to say regarding size of a pitcher:
“Do not be discouraged by lack of size. While MOST successful pitchers have been tall and rangy, there have been many of lesser stature who have starred in the majors. Determination and initiative are the real measures.“
How well I know. Look at Bobby Shantz, who was 5’6” if he was an inch. Look at Randy Johnson, who was 6’10” if he was an inch. Look at all the others in between. They made it, because they had those two attributes: determination, initiative—and either an overpowering fastball or a devastating slider, plus control, command and all that goes with being a successful pitcher. Yep, Superchief was right.


#10

Ok, you’re better than half way there. With adding zip to your presence, it’s all in how you use with what you got. Serious pep to a pitch is a slow and methodical process that has a steep learning curve at first. You have to be shown, step by step what you have and how it will best serve you.

Take for instance how you play catch. As such, how you stand, break your hands, rotate you shoulders and so forth is as important as incorporating the good stuff and tossing out the bad. This kind of “look-see” is one of the most underestimated coaching processes in the world of pitching. We’re doing things naturally because our body says so - period. We use what we’ve got because of our life experiences and our natural endowments or lack there of.

I would suggest taking video of playing catch with someone, then watching that picture of yourself in slow motion, over and over again. See when and where you turn to bring the ball out of your glove, when and where you bring the ball up, when and where you turn sideways, when and where you start your power-position, how you throw the ball, how you finish. If your motion during a simple game of catch is awkward and without an easy fluid motion, it will be very noticeable. If your motion is without a release that takes full advantage of your body’s weight when y you turn and release - you’ll notice.

Tell you what, post video of playing a simple game of catch here. Let’s see what you do when you’re not under pressure to pitch. I’ll give you points to look for and why. Soon you’ll be able to pick out certain traits that will impress restrictions on your ability to pitch stronger and with better velocity.

A side view and a back view is best for this kind of analysis.