The 95 mph body


#1

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.

Me:
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.

Thoughts?


#2

Great post Ben.


#3

Congrats, Lanky, on reaching 95!

One thing that stands out to me is that, in order to hit the higher velocities, the lighter guys need to be more explosive to put more energy into the system and they need to have more efficient mechanics to allow as much of that energy as possible to transfer up the chain. Think “Tim Lincecum”. And below is another example:

[quote=“LankyLefty”]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.[/quote]

I would tweak your comment below by changing the parts in bold to “need to be”:

Also, it’s important to understand that the hyper-flexible hard throwers need some strength to go with that flexibility (for joint stability) or else they’ll be exposed to increased chances for injury.

My younger son was always a hard thrower and was very flexible in the shoulders (he could touch his elbows together behind his back. :shocking: ) House took one look at him one time and immediately expressed concern about (lack of) strength (this was when my son was 12 or 13).


#4

excellent points, Roger! There is certainly an increased need for stability for those that are naturally hypermobile!


#5

Fantastic ! Your innings are up, velocity is up, ERA looks good. You may have to put your training career on hold for a few years! Congratulations. One question…how did your velocity track from your freshman year until now? I remember an early post about your velocity in the fall of your freshman year but can’t remember what you were sitting. Best of luck.


#6

I topped out at 86 freshman year, was as low as 80 at times. That summer I made a big jump and was 86 to 87 topping at 89. Sophomore spring I was throwing low to mid 80s leading up to my back injury, and came back from that at 88-91, which I maintained all summer in the NECBL. The following fall I couldn’t quite reach that level, and my mechanics regressed. I was 87-89 all fall, and as low as 84-86 during the spring of junior year. I began long tossing again, regained most of what I had lost and was 88-90 by the end of junior year. This summer in august I made a huge breakthrough with my lower half drive, and was pretty much 89-92 from that point on all fall. That was also the breakthrough with command, repeatability and max pulldown velocity (102mph).

Bottom line is that the big velocity jumps were all due to mechanical breakthroughs, with the bodyweight and strength changes making gradual and slight increases from year to year.


#7

Thanks. My son is a college Freshman and is sitting 87-88 and hitting 89. Seems a bit odd to me that he is not seeing a pop once in a while. He’s a bit anxious to get over the 90 mark. He has started long tossing and his coach is good about letting them air it out (he’s not a 120 foot guy). Hopefully, that will help him a bit. I appreciate your comments about mechanics and will let him know that. They are lifting once per week now that they are in season but they are running a lot. I suppose that’s typical in-season stuff. Change-up is effective and his slider is hit or miss in terms of command. So, in the meantime he is working on command. One thing he’s learned…if you don’t throw strikes, you don’t pitch.


#8

We still lift three days a week in-season and I’m actually getting stronger and going berserk in the weight room. Hitting belt squat PRs every week, DB benching 105s, life is good. I’ve found it doesn’t really affect my performance that much, and even if it did, throwing 91 instead of 92 on a given day won’t be the difference between winning and losing. I don’t know how typical that is.

Long toss might help, it’s different for everyone depending on what their limiting factor is.


#9

Great stuff lanky


#10

Money. Congrats, Lanky! Seems like those BF %'s of the 95 mph pitchers are mostly 15%+. Cubs trainers generally wanted their pitchers to be 12%-15%. Kyle Farnsworth was a lot less. Position players were less. I didn’t hit 95-96 until my second season in pro ball (2002) when I was 225 and 12.2%. Prior to that, I was pretty much always 205-210. I think the weight can help – especially in college and pro ball to help the body deal with the wear and tear and lifestyle.

Lanky, what weight/BF are you focused on? Or is it a non-factor?


#11

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]Money. Congrats, Lanky! Seems like those BF %'s of the 95 mph pitchers are mostly 15%+. Cubs trainers generally wanted their pitchers to be 12%-15%. Kyle Farnsworth was a lot less. Position players were less. I didn’t hit 95-96 until my second season in pro ball (2002) when I was 225 and 12.2%. Prior to that, I was pretty much always 205-210. I think the weight can help – especially in college and pro ball to help the body deal with the wear and tear and lifestyle.

Lanky, what weight/BF are you focused on? Or is it a non-factor?[/quote]

I would love to be 225 at 12% like you mentioned. Which is equivalent to 220 at 10%. Either way, it means eventually adding about 10 more lbs of quality weight. I think that would be my sweet spot, performance wise, strength wise and aesthetically! Time will tell, though

Ben


#12

I can touch my elbows behind my back too! I’m not alone😀.


#13

Congrats. I can roll my tongue! I’m not alone :tongue:


#14

Lol. Heading to tournament wish me luck.


#15

Thanks for the good luck we lost and tied the games that decide who we play but then we won the whole thing on Sunday and got the 1st place trophy:)