LL changed their league age a couple years ago and this years class of LLWS players will be the last that can be 13 during the LLWS playing period. It was changed to match calendar year (Dec 31) a couple years ago and then because of the amount of complaints they had during the first year they moved it back to Aug 31. The upcoming class of League Age 12 players is a huge one because it has 16 months worth of kids instead of 12. My son was caught up in this and is “losing” an eligible playing year (he went from league age 7 to age 9 when they made the change).
As for your question, as a HS coach in the past we certainly saw our fair share of flame throwers in LL not make the pitching staff on our squad. Not that is was every case, but there were many who came to us as freshman and sophomores that were still throwing the same speed as they were in LL Majors (12u) With increased distance to 60’ 6" their flame throwing 70 mph FB was like hitting batting practice.
If a kid can learn to pitch by throwing strikes during his youth baseball playing years that is far better in development for latter stages than if they are just throwing heat. Many of the kids that throw heat do so pretty wildly. Last year we had 2 arms that were crazy hot (mid 80s as sophomores) but they could not command their pitches and were rarely consistent at throwing strikes. Free passes in HS are a killer. Were they pitchers on the squad? Nope. They became outfielders.
It would be the perfect thing to have a kid that can throw close to 70 at 12 and throw strikes and by the time he is a Junior in HS he is throwing 85+. Nice development curve! Many times, sad to say, that is not the case.
Look at that girl Mo’ne Davis (spelling…???) that was the rage at the LLWS a couple years ago. She just played in a Perfect Game Inner City series in August and she was still only throwing 70 mph. She had 3 years to get faster (she is now a Junior) and even as a Sophomore she would not be a pitcher on our JV squad throwing 70 mph from 60’ 6"
It is not a question as to develop early or late, but to try and put a program together to keep developing. Keep getting more speed and more command as the years from youth to HS move along.