I’ve gone on record many times to say that the upper bound of fastball velocity is set in the body and can’t materially change much. However, the more I work with athletes, the more I have reason to doubt this “truth.” Here is one story that you “soft-tossers” out there may draw inspiration from.
Joe is a 19 year old college freshman who played for a top 25 HS in California. By “played,” I mean, he was on the Varsity roster for exactly one year and pitched garbage innings out of the pen. As a 6’3" 185 lb. RHP with a fastball that barely touched 80, he didn’t get much work.
He forgot all about baseball and came to Seattle to study aerospace engineering at the University of Washington. While here, though, he got the itch - baseball tends to do this to a man when you try to leave it
He looked me up and we had a long chat about where he wanted to go and what he thought might be realistic. The idea was to walk-on to UW’s baseball team in 2013, expecting that he’d have to train through August 2012 before fall ball tryouts came up. In talking with coaches and players in the area, the expectation is that a low 3/4 RHP would have to be coming in around 86-88 MPH with great command to secure a walk-on invite. Joe and I thought this would be possible by August of 2012 with a ton of work.
What happened - and continues to happen - has been nothing short of amazing. Joe tirelessly works hard in the facility, taking the bus here 3 days a week and working out in the college gym on his own. He was initially gunned touching 77 MPH (this was 2 weeks into workouts, so he was plenty “warm”).
In April, Joe was touching 82-84 - a pretty solid improvement. He decided he wanted to try out for UC Davis, a school closer to home, so he flew down there for walk-on tryouts and threw an OK bullpen, sitting 81-83 with great command of a sinker and slider. The coach invited him to fall walk-ons and expedited his transfer. Joe would not be going to UW; he’d be fighting for a spot on the UC Davis team come September.
Not a month later (3.5 months since being gunned at 77 MPH), Joe is routinely touching 92 MPH with a 3 oz. baseball:
And hit 89 MPH with a regulation ball on Friday, May 12th.
Joe promises me (and everyone in the gym) that he will throw 90 MPH on Tuesday. And while that’s fun… where can he go from here?
Fun times. Keep up with the journey (and other videos) on our YouTube channel. I’ve always been a big believer in self-improvement, but this is pushing the boundaries of what I previously thought possible - it’s one hell of a ride I’m loving.