I have been waiting to touch on this, because I haven’t been qualified to talk about it from a personal perspective.
Having played with and against numerous guys who throw 95 miles per hour, I get a pretty good sense of what it takes, both mechanically and physically.
Today I joined that club. I have been 90-93 all preseason, and today cruised at 92-94, touching 95mph. For those who don’t follow me, I’m a lefty low 3/4 high sidearm pitcher from university of maryland.
So here is what the 95 mph bodies I have played with look like, in no particular order.
Pitcher A: J.S.
6’4" 215 - single digit body fat, lanky, very flexible. Front squat 375-405, 34 inch vertical, sits 91-94. Early round draft prospect.
Pitcher B: M.S.
6’4" 225 righty - moderate body fat (15-20%), short torso, long HUGE legs, long arms, ultra ultra flexible shoulders, weak upper body, sits 88-92, has been 92-94 up to 96 in the past. Low 300s front squat. Mid round draft pick out of HS.
Pitcher C: S.B.
6’3" 225 righty - higher body fat (20-22%), standard build, average shoulder flexibility - good strength (300lb power clean), high 20s vertical jump. Sits 89-92, has been up to 95. Free agent sign out of college.
Pitcher D: J.P.
6’3" 220 righty - low body fat (10%), thick muscular build. Broad shoulders, massive natural strength. ~400lbs front squat, 33-34" vertical jump. Sits 91-93, has sat 93-95 before and touched 97. Middle round draft pick out of HS.
Pitcher E: A.R.
6’3" 220 lefty - moderate body fat (15-20%), standard build, skinny arms, average strength. Big time leg kick. Good shoulder flexibility. high 20s vertical jump, low 300s front squat. Sits 90-93, has sat 93-95 up to 96 at times. Early round draft prospect in HS.
Pitcher F: A.H.
6’4" 220 lefty - low body fat (10-14%), broad shoulders, balanced build. Sits 91-94, up to 96. Average shoulder flexibility, big over the top delivery. Big time lifter and olympic lift guy. Middle round draft pick out of college.
Pitcher G: K.M.
6’2" 185 righty - moderate body fat (15-20%), narrow shoulders, soft body type. Great shoulder flexibility, very efficient mechanics (crazy hip drive), decent natural strength but shied away from lifting. Below-average work ethic. Sat 90-92, up to 94-95 at times. Middle round draft pick out of college.
Pitcher H: J.D.
6’3" 200 Lefty - moderate body fat (15-20%), narrow shoulders, soft body type. Great shoulder flexibility, balanced build. Great hip drive, mechanics considered desirable by scouts, very loose arm. Not much size, but relatively strong in the weight room. 405 deadlift, low 300s front squat. Middle round draft pick out of HS. Sits 88-92, has been 91-93 touching 95 at times.
Pitcher I: K.M.
6’0" 215lbs Righty - moderate body fat (15-20%), average build, small arms and shoulders, average strength - 300 front squat, upper 20s vertical. Weak upper body. Never drafted. Sits 91-92, has been 92-94 touching 95 at times. Good hip drive, Nolan Ryan-esque mechanics and arm action. Average shoulder flexibility.
Pitcher J: C.H.
6’3" 200lbs righty - moderate body fat (15%), average build, small arms, below average strength - upper 20s vert, flexible shoulders, compact very efficient delivery. Middle-late round draft pick. Sat 90-92 touching 94, at times was 92-94 touching 95.
6’3" 215 Lefty - lower body fat (10%), balanced build, very good but not exceptional shoulder flexibility. I don’t squat or deadlift anymore but bests are around 450 deadlift and 400 front squat. Good upper body strength, 33 inch vertical. Sidearm delivery, all 2-seam fastballs. Sit 90-93, was 92-94 touching 95 today.
What are the common threads here? Let’s get a discussion going. I have played against guys throwing 96+ who are 5’8", but this is far from the norm. That particular individual was extraordinarily strong, athletic and explosive especially for his size.
Notice also that the softer the player and the less lean body mass, the more efficient their mechanics tend to be or the more flexible they tend to be. Flexible guys with great mechanics who have some natural size don’t have to be fiends in the weight room to throw very hard.
Also, this list is just people I have played with. I think there is some valuable information to take away from this.
I’m not going to put up a list of all the soft throwers I have played with, but suffice it to say they tend to have poorer shoulder flexibility as a general rule, OR very low lean body mass OR very poor athleticism OR major mechanical issues or some combination of these factors. Everyone has a weak link that can be targeted to get them into the next velocity tier. I firmly believe that very few of us are ever close to what our true velocity potential is.