On occasion, we all get too wrapped up in pitcher’s velocity. “Oh my God, Mariano’s velocity is down – he’s done! He’s done! The sky is falling!” or “Oh my God, Phil Hughes’ velocity isn’t the 95mph he was advertised as in the minors!! He’s not that good!!” or “Oh my God, Joba is throwing 91 as a starter! Switch him to the bullpen!!” I think we often fail to recognize that velocity is a variable thing. Just because you see Mariano throw a few 89mph fastballs in a three game stretch doesn’t mean he’s done. Players go through dead arm periods, they need time to build arm strength after injuries or Spring Training, or they may have a small mechanical problem that needs to be worked out.
This doesn’t mean that we should just ignore radar gun readings and toss them away. Sometimes lower than usual velocity can be a sign that there’s something wrong. Everything seems to be coming together, however, and that includes the velocity of the Yankees hurlers. Let’s take a look at some of the guys who had pundits concerned at the beginning of the season – thanks to BrooksBaseball.net for the PitchFX data:
- Joba: The Yanks have been very careful with Joba since his shoulder injury last season. He’s the jewel of the franchise and the Yanks have been uber-careful with him, trying to smooth out his mechanics so that he doesn’t throw with the violent, max-effort motion that many are afraid aggravated his shoulder in the first place. After the injury and all of this year so far, Joba exhibited a significant drop in velocity, from averaging close to 95mph in his starts pre-injury, to averaging around 91mph most starts post-injury.
Along with the reduced mph came a less effective slider that lacked the bite of the nasty out-pitch of the past. Many feared that this was not just him building arm strength or getting used to new mechanics, but that this would be how he would have to pitch for the rest of his career. Well, you can put some of your fears to rest, because last night Joba was, well, Joba. Last night he went 8 innings with an average fastball of 93.91 mph. His slider was also back to its formerly filthy self: he threw a frightening 85.71% of them for strikes. What may be truly scary is that Joba was pitching to a sub-3 ERA BEFORE getting his mechanics worked out. This young man is truly a special, special talent.
- Mariano: While I must admit that I was legitimately concerned about Joba’s velocity drop, I never had any concern about Mariano. I just didn’t get the panic that many showed, especially when he does this every year. Well he averaged over 93 mph on his cutter last night, so just relax all you doomsayers. Yes he’s old, but he’s already in uncharted territory so there’s no way to predict when he’ll begin to decline. I’m getting kind of sick of everyone freaking out every time he hiccups. Just relax people, and let the greatest closer of all-time work his magic.
- While Wang’s effectiveness is clearly linked to the velocity on his sinker, Phil Hughes doesn’t necessarily need to be tagging 95 on the gun in order to be at his best. A lot of folks panicked when Phil came up throwing 90 instead of the 95 that he was advertised as in the minors. I think the bottom line is that Hughes can hit 95 when he wants to, but he’s often more comfortable and effective hitting spots while throwing 91. His last start on Sunday, for instance, had him averaging 93 mph which is on the high end for him, while struggling.
His previous start, on the other hand, he was slightly under 91 mph average and unhittable. His other lights out start against Detroit had him a shade under 92 mph, so higher velocity is not necessarily any indicator of success with Phil. Command is always the key with him, but it’s good to see that he can certainly crank his heater up to the mid-90s on occasion. Maybe as he matures, he’ll be able to maintain command and consistency while keeping the velocity up.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees