Velo Question


#1

Why is velo such a big deal these days and in general for pitchers. Why would coaches want a guy who can throw over 90 but has little to no control in some senses etc. Perhaps I am wrong in this but had it in my mind.


#2

Why would coaches want a guy who can throw over 90 but has little to no control in some senses etc. Perhaps I am wrong in this but had it in my mind.

This is not the norm - but in rare instances, of those who have little, if any, experience in the coaching ranks.

Now depending on the strata of the game - perhaps throwing like a howitzer is seen as a good thing. But lacking control and purpose, is a game loser. I’ve sat through amateur games where this has been the case. After rounding the bases and watching batter after batter, just stand in the box and wait out ball count after ball count… then “take your base,” this bream-bullet thing gets to be old news real quick.


#3

Perhaps it’s most to do with being able to coach and train for accuracy, but velocity mostly seems to be a “you have it or you don’t” kind of thing for some coaches. A + fastball only matter if you can control it. If a pitcher throws 99 and misses twice and must throw another fastball for a strike to get back into the count, MLB hitter can hit 99 when they know it’s coming and are looking only in their happy zone.

Also, the way the pitching strategies have changed over the past decade. Starters are only pitching 5-6 innings (twice through the order) then the bullpen takes over. If you have 2-3 guys that throw 100 miles per hour for strikes, it makes it easier to hold a lead. In order to create a bullpen like that, you need to find those top velocity project-type guys and see if they develop.


#4

Is movement and change of velocity more important than pure velocity if the pitcher can locate every pitch?


#5

Trevor Hoffman comes to mind… he had a lumbering straight fastball that topped out at 88 - 90 but his change up was around 68 - 74 and was devastating to hitters.


#6

It’s like being 7 ft in basketball. You will get multiple chances to fail. Every coach thinks that they can teach/coach you to throw accurately.


#7

In my opinion, I feel that you can indirectly teach velocity in the sense you can teach how to train to gain velocity. Though, quite debated what the best way is without the risk of major injury I think that it is a teach in terms of learning velo with a strong amount of dedication to it all. Also, I also believe that control is something that some poeople naturally have and some poeple just can’t learn control for whatever reason. Wheter it be mental or mechanical. but in escene I’d ratehr have an average fast ball that I can control and move around to mess with the view of the hitter ratehr than a hard plus fastball I throw all over the place missing my spots. Thats sort of my view on these things, let me know if I was wrong on some things.


#8

Is movement and change of velocity more important than pure velocity if the pitcher can locate every pitch?

Harp78, that is a outstanding question.

Velocity is something that has to be understood - as a tool facing batters, before I can answer that. So, why this focus on velocity? Why is velocity looked at with a sense of effectiveness?
Here’s that answer:

  1. Have you ever seen a car race where the camera angle is looking at oncoming race cars from a guardrail or barrier off to the side, just a few feet off the race track?
  2. Off in the distance, a race car is just a tiny spec in the camera lens.
  3. As the race car approaches the camera, it seems to move kind a slow, but about a few hundred feet away, the race car becomes visible and the image that was once small, is now showing an object that you can identify -a race car.
  4. Now here’s the part to notice - from that image that is now identifiable, all of a sudden, coming at you is a blur, and then the race car is behind the camera, gone.

This is what a batter faces with a good fastball that has zip to it. That pitch that was once identifiable, out, oh… about 20 feet away, is now a blur … zip right buy. It takes the human mind to comprehend that image (ball), and coordinate at a minimum six (6) different body parts, to move in a coordinated manner to allow a small bat, with a very small striking face, to hit that image.

Ok, now to your question - if a pitcher can add to that inventory, movement, location, changing the speed, and all sorts of other influences… all the better. By the way, that’s why a batting average of 300 is considered pretty darn good. On the other hand, I know of now job that pays good money for a 30% performance record - but baseball does, all because of the difficulty of hitting this red stitched horsehide.

But - more important? Depends. Take a solid knuckleball pitcher. Not exactly a flamethrower in my book. But when this pitcher is on… it’s madness trying to hold down the expressions … “what in name of Rube Waddell was that!”

I’ve had guys that couldn’t clock above the high 80’s, and their usefulness was specific. Situation pitchers, pitchers that just had to work things out in real time, and pitchers that had a host of other particulars. Yes, these guys would never be called heaters, but then their effectiveness was in the smart way they (they and I) used what they had.

Did I address your question adequately?


#9

Yes you did thank you so much for your insight


#10

Yes sir, thank you so much for the reply and you make complete sense… and great analogy of the racecar description. Obviously location and velocity are ideal, but my idol was Greg maddux growing up and he could make fastballs and change ups move more than anyone I’ve ever seen and its fascinating how certain pitchers have more overall movement than others. I have a really good young 7 year old who’s wanting to start pitching to me… I assume at that age mechanics and ability to hit a target are most critical.

Again, I really appreciate your reply so thank you!


#11

could you indireclty teach velocity in the sense you can teach someone how to train to gain velocity?