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Fastball Velocity Gainers And Losers

Velocity isn't everything, but it's certainly important.  Limiting our sample to qualified pitchers, this post looks at the biggest fastball velocity gainers and losers comparing 2009 to 2010. FanGraphs supplied the data.

18 pitchers added at least 0.5 mph to their fastball this year:

  1. Francisco Liriano - 1.7 mph increase
  2. Luke Hochevar - 1.7
  3. Tommy Hanson - 1.3
  4. James Shields - 1.2
  5. Kevin Slowey - 1.1
  6. Scott Olsen - 1.0
  7. Jered Weaver - 1.0
  8. Matt Garza - 0.9
  9. Joe Saunders - 0.8
  10. Tim Hudson - 0.8
  11. Ubaldo Jimenez - 0.7
  12. Tim Wakefield - 0.7
  13. Brett Myers - 0.6
  14. Jonathon Niese - 0.6
  15. Gio Gonzalez - 0.6
  16. Randy Wells - 0.5
  17. Cole Hamels - 0.5
  18. Aaron Harang - 0.5

In turn, 27 pitchers lost at least 1.0 mph:

  1. C.J. Wilson - 2.7 mph decrease
  2. John Maine - 2.4
  3. Zach Duke - 2.1
  4. David Bush - 2.0
  5. Rich Harden - 1.8
  6. Max Scherzer - 1.8
  7. Homer Bailey - 1.7
  8. Scott Feldman - 1.6
  9. Chris Carpenter - 1.6
  10. Randy Wolf - 1.4
  11. Paul Maholm - 1.4
  12. Matt Cain - 1.4
  13. Jonathan Sanchez - 1.3
  14. Zack Greinke - 1.3
  15. Kevin Millwood - 1.2
  16. Johan Santana -1.2
  17. Ricky Romero - 1.2
  18. Justin Masterson - 1.2
  19. Tim Lincecum - 1.2
  20. Mike Pelfrey - 1.2
  21. Phil Hughes - 1.1
  22. Ricky Nolasco - 1.1
  23. Kenshin Kawakami - 1.0
  24. Carl Pavano - 1.0
  25. C.C. Sabathia - 1.0
  26. Brandon Morrow - 1.0
  27. Brian Matusz - 1.0

Thoughts:

  • Liriano struck out hitters at about the same rate last year with a lot less velocity, but this year he's shown better control and an increased groundball rate.  Strikeouts are up for velo gainers Hanson, Shields, Olsen, Weaver, Jimenez, Niese, Wells, and Hamels.
  • We can toss out the losses for Wilson, Hughes, and Morrow, as they converted from relief.  The dropoff helps explains Scherzer's struggles, as he's down from 93.6 to 91.8 and now resides in Triple A.


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