Velocity of college pitchers

[quote=“palo20”][quote=“MaineBall”]D3 75-95
D2 75-95
DI 75-95

theres some numbers[/quote]


Thats pretty much it all around, it depends on the location of the school, what the coach is looking for, if the kid knows how to pitch, etc. Coaches know when a kid knows how to pitch and they will give him a chance because as we all know a below average fastball can still get outs just look at Maddux and Moyer. College coaches know that too.

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Speaking strictly for DIII pitchers… average velocity is probably 79-83. Usually a few guys in every league that can pump it up to 85+

[quote=“UndersizedRHP”]D3 75-95
D2 75-95
DI 75-95

theres some numbers[/quote]

Well said, Howie Kendrick.
D3 76-93
D2 80-95
D3 82-98

i dont think it matters about division as much as it does conference. I would say the NJAC is one of the best d3 conferences in the country and some of the top pitchers can sit 87-92+.

Whoever is listing velocities in such a way that D1 is the highest, D2 is in the middle, and D3 is the lowest clearly knows nothing about this. D1 pitchers generally have the highest velocity, followed by D3, then D2. Conferences like ACC, SEC, and others of that caliber will have pitchers that sit 91-95. Some might only sit 85 but be left handed and have great command. Some may even be slower than that. Slightly less competitive D1 conferences may still have guys that sit 91-95, but it is less common. It’s generally more like 85-89. Again, some guys may be slower. Some guys may be 81-84, and again, this is more common with left handers. Some may even be in the upper 70s. Furthermore, D2 is less competitive than D3 in general. D2 pitchers are generally upper 70s to low or mid 80s, with the rare exception of high 80s to low 90s. D3 guys are more consistently low to mid 80s, with a fair number able to touch 90s. Competitive D3 divisions will sometimes have guys that sit 87 to 90. That is all.

?? I think that is a very sweeping generalization and would disagree. Have you seen the guys at Tampa, Lynn, S. Arkansas, etc, etc, etc,…

Why is D2 less competitive than D3? Honest question.

Velo is all over the map in college. I went to a JC game where I live and watched Dylan Baker pump it there at 93-95. I have been to D1 games where guys were sitting lows 80s. Two friends of my sons from his high school team are moving on to pitching in college this year. One at a JC and one at an NAIA school. The kid who is going to the JC had probably the best velocity on his high school team, throwing low to mid 80s from the mound, but, his control is all over the place. He could cruise for an inning or two the start sailing them to the backstop and bouncing them in. The kid going to the NAIA school was only throwing up to 72 from the mound but has good control and can mix pitches. Both are left handed. I guess my point is using velocity as a marker of progress is fine but just because you start hitting a certain number (unless it is elite) dont expect to start hearing from coaches. Most guys that go on to play college ball have to seek out a place they fit. As a side note, the kid that was throwing 70-72 as a senior was at about 76-78 as a junior. He wanted to be low 80s as a senior and worked hard during the offseason. He did tons of cardio workouts and a lot of long distance jogging…the result? He lost about 25 lbs and (he didnt realize he was doing this) trained his body to move slowly and ended up with the opposite result. So, if you going to workout make sure your working on the right things.

All this plays right into what I’ve said all along—that too much emphasis is placed on velocity and not nearly enough on control and command of one’s stuff. You have pitchers who can throw 95 and higher—but they have no idea where the strike zone is, they just can’t find the plate, while on the other hand you have the guys who can hardly hit 85 MPH but who can make the batters look very silly. And then there was a guy named Allie Reynolds. One day, when he was in college, the baseball coach asked him to throw some batting practice to the team. You know batting practice—moderate-speed stuff over the plate so the batters could practice their hitting. Well, Reynolds took the mound—and proceeded to throw serious high cheese! The batters couldn’t even get a loud foul off him. The coach saw this and yelled at Reynolds, "Go get a uniform! You’re on the team!"
Reynolds was clocked at better than 100 miles an hour—one of the fastest pitchers in the American League. Not to mention all the other stuff he had. Now, not everyone can throw at that speed, and it is imperative to have some other good stuff at one’s disposal. Not to mention control and command. :slight_smile: 8)

fearsomefour is pretty close when he says: “Velo is all over the map in college.”

However, for a variety of reasons, “all over the map” does not equate to “random distribution”. HS pitchers who aspire to pitch in college should have a reasonable idea of where they fit in by the end of summer following their Junior year.

Important disclaimer: Although people often offer the fuzzy disclaimer that “velocity is overrated”, there are some very good reasons to know your best velocity at the end of Junior year, and to know a little about where that number points to on “the map” of college programs. For better or worse, coaches will use your top velocity to help them project whether you are likely to develop into a competitive pitcher at their college program level.

College-level is certainly not as simple as “D1” versus other levels and it’s even difficult to break programs down by conference. There are currently 297 D-1 college baseball programs spread over 30 conferences as listed by the NCAA.

Just to take one example, the Pac-12 conference, contains the NCAA’s top-ranked program in 2012 (UCLA) and the program ranked #200 (Utah). That’s quite a spread in rankings but the ave. HS velocity of pitchers who eventually appeared on a Pac-12 baseball roster in 2012 doesn’t vary greatly:

For eventual Pac-12 RHPs:

#1 UCLA ave = 91.5
#4 Arizona ave = 89.7
#6 Oregon ave = 86.7
#11 SStanford ave = 90.9
#27 Oregon St. ave = 91
#15 Arizona St. ave = 88.8
#55 U of Wash ave = 86
#59 Wash St. ave = 85.5
#99 USC ave = 89
#200 Utah ave = 87.8

Remember: These are ave. velocities of RHPs when they were in HS, before they found their way onto a Pac-12 baseball roster somewhere.

These numbers do say something important about the average expectations of Pac-12 coaches concerning who they will recruit into their programs. Unfair and short-sighted? Maybe, but it is very important to be aware of the expectations of people who may (or may not) be interested in your potential to play for them.

Perhaps a more revealing breakdown of “D-1 velocity” is to separate out small groups of programs based on their place in the NCAA rankings:

#25 Vanderbilt
#26 Ole Miss
#27 Oregon St.

Ave HS velo of RHP pitchers who eventually appeared on the 2012 roster of one these programs was: ave = 90.5 +/- 2. (That means that about 70% of the RHPs in this group pitched in the range: 88.5 - 92.5 mph when they were in High School. Ave HS velo of LHPs who eventually played at these schools was: ave = 88.5 +/- 2.5 mph. (again, this means that 70% of LHPs for these programs were in the range 86 - 91 mph in High School.

#40 New Mexico St.
#47 Gonzaga
#55 U of Wash

Fairly substantial drop-off here: The ave HS velo of RHPs who eventually appeared on these rosters was: ave = 85.5 +/- 2.5. Thus, 70% of these RHPs were in the 83 - 88 mph range in HS. For the LHPs in these programs, the HS ave velo was: ave = 82.5 +/- 2.5, with 70% falling in the range of 80 - 85 mph. (The universal tolerance for lower velo from LHPs has been known forever–you will see this pattern repeated over and over).

#75 Nevada
#80 Wash St.
#83 Fresno St.
#88 Hawaii

Very similar RHP numbers to the #40 - #55 programs: Ave HS velo for RHPs who eventually got a roster spot on one of these programs was: ave = 85.5 +/- 3.5 mph. So, the range of RHP High School velocities was a bit wider at this level, 82 - 89 mph, but the average expectation was still about 86 mph. Interestingly, the LHP HS velo numbers were a bit higher for this group, ave = 86 +/-3 mph.

#99 USC
#101 Loyola Marymount
#109 Sacramento St.
#119 U of San Francisco
#123 U of Portland
#131 St. Mary’s

Ave HS velo of RHPs who eventually played for these programs was: ave = 86.5 +/- 3 mph. Only 1 mph different than the averages fro the #40 - #55 group and the #75 - #88 group. Ave HS LHP velo = 85.5 +/- 5 mph.

#165 Xavier
#177 Santa Clara
#199 Seattle U.
#200 Utah
#206 Davidson
#210 San Jose St.

Ave HS velo of RHPs who eventually played on these teams was: ave = 85 mph +/- 4 mph. For LHPs, ave = 82.5 +/- 4 mph. The std dev on these numbers leads to fairly wide ranges for the 70% groups: RHPs = 81 - 89 mph; LHPs = 78.5 - 86.5.

Let’s look at “the bottom of the barrel” of D-1 NCAA rankings:

#288 Youngstown St.
#295 Florida A&M
#296 Alabama A&M

There was not enough public data (i.e., Perfect Game velocities) to evaluate HS LHP velo for pitchers who eventually showed up on a roster for one of these programs. There was also not very much RHP data available for these pitchers, but enough to make a point. The ave High School velo of RHPs on these rosters was: ave = 81 +/- 4.5 mph. A pretty low average with a wide range. Thus, 70% of RHPs who pitched for these teams had HS velo in the range = 76.5 - 85.5 mph.

As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, it may not make much sense to include JCs in a comparison w/ most D1, D2, and D3 programs because academic ability (grades, SAT or ACT scores, etc) and economic factors may come strongly into play. It’s probably very safe to assume that there is significant overlap between the average HS velocity expectations for the top half of all D2 programs and many of the D1 programs. Also, may be safe to assume that there is overlap between expectations at top D3 programs and many good D2s and some of the D1s.

What it looks like to me is: Almost everybody who is capable of pitching in high school can probably find a “fit” for themselves in a college program somewhere at some level. However, this is not really saying enough…the big picture really requires a good college “fit” that depends on each of these important factors: Academics, economics, social factors, and your ability to pitch a baseball.


AMAZING post la!

The last paragraph sums it up perfectly!

Thanks for taking the time to figure all that out

Great information LA. Thanks for sharing. Your post should serve two good reminders to the h.s. guys on the board. There is little point in chasing a number to chase a number (ie; I have to throw 92 to play D1) and a lot of guys would be just as well served (better?) to consider other factors (area of study, economics) with equal or greater weight than the baseball rep of the school they choose.

Thanks, guys, I appreciate the kind remarks.

The research and number-crunching is personally interesting to me and over the past couple of years I’ve had a chance to hear a wide spectrum of stories pretty close-up. I hope some of this might be helpful to high school guys who may be wondering whether they have a chance to play in college.

There obviously isn’t roster space at the college level for everyone who plays baseball in high school but I think a lot of kids just decide to drop baseball after high school because it can sometimes be very difficult to match up all of the variables that are in play. Something like the difficulty of lining up all cherries in one neat row on the $1 slot-machine…ka-ching.

Some good players with serious academic difficulties may realize that they just can’t simultaneously handle academics and baseball at any level at the same time–ultimately, which pursuit is more likely to pay the bills?

Some good players who are also very strong academically may decide to attend a college that matches their academic strengths, but overmatches their baseball ability. I know of quite a few kids in that situation…they could undoubtedly have played and studied “somewhere”, but not necessarily at the college they chose primarily for academic reasons.

The economic factor is also huge, of course. I think most here are aware at some level…but it is just excruciating to think of how little athletic scholarship money is available for “the national pastime”…but, on the other hand, the crowd sizes don’t lie–college football and basketball are popular money-makers virtually everywhere. On the other hand, I wonder if there is even a single collegiate baseball program in this country that breaks even. We learned a couple years ago that Cal Berkeley’s baseball program had been losing nearly one million dollars per year before a group of wealthy alumni stepped up to save it from the axe…

The last thing anyone with realistic college baseball hopes should be depending on is serious athletic scholarship money…if you get some, that’s great!..but in today’s college baseball world don’t ever, ever, ever count on a “full ride” baseball scholarship. A very small handful of the top players at the top D-1 schools seem to get about 3/4 of a ride these days. Be prepared to receive (and be grateful for) the smallest fraction of a baseball scholarship currently allowed by the NCAA–in fact, be very grateful because…on every Division 1 baseball 35-man roster with 11.75 full scholarships there are always going to be talented guys who will play for no scholarship money at all.

If I didn’t love this game so much, I’d hate it… :lol:

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Great post LA,

I think the economic factor and scholarship issue that you mentioned have a huge impact for the variances in levels. Some parents may steer their kids to D2 or JC for a better financial package than they would receive at D1. So you may very well see better players at lower levels due to economics. Since colleges are becoming a big feeding ground for MLB, both the NCAA and MLB should address the scholarship issue for the national pasttime…

Well said again la you summed it up perfectly

Im going into my senior year of high school and i have topped out at around 87 maybe 88 and sit at about 85 or on a good day be able to be consistant at 86-87 and i have been getting looked at by D2 scouts and some low D1 schools so i would say to be a D1 pitcher you would need to be consistant at around 87-89 and for D2 between 84-86

There are seriously so many good posts on LTP. @laflippin’s here on pitching velocity for college pitchers is pure gold. As I was re-reading the thread, I started to wonder if over the past 5-10 years average fastball speed is trending up, down or more or less staying flat.

It is great information from LA, for sure.
I have used this thread and his numbers to show some kids a basic outline of documented velos related to D1 schools. These were mostly kids throwing the HS average around where I live (RHP about 78…with dads claiming 85) who have visions of going to major or mid major D1s. I don’t do this to be discouraging, just the opposite really.
College ball is such a cluster. You have low D1s or D2s that may not have any hard throwers and you have JCs that are loaded with guys looking to get drafted who bring heat. You have coaches who treasure velo and those that have it listed as a secondary trait. My son got cut from his small college team this Dec. He was told over and over that velo didn’t matter to the coach. The coach then brought in 25 guys to compete for 4 open spots. The 4 that were kept had the highest velo. So, who knows? One thing for sure, if a kid wants to play at a major or mid major D1 they are going to have to have more than one box checked, velo being one of those boxes.
One thing for sure is, for all the claims being made by this guy or that guy, or this dad or travel coach and for all the videos on You Tube of 15 year old claiming to throw 88…hard throwers, guys who can sit upper 80s or higher in games is not very common in my experience.

I was looking for this post a while back and couldn’t find it.

Thanks for bringing it back up to the forefront!

Would 75 as a rhp with, good control on fastball and change up with movement be good to pitch d3. I am currently developing a breaking ball while working to hit the 80’s more conisitantly. Hope this helps, i have been speaking with a few d3’s at this point.