I would appreciate follow up reports a few weeks or months after this type of article. For instance, last week we were talking about CC’s drop in velocity. While he had a good line yesterday, his velocity still looked to be down.
Comment by Northhampstonstead — April 8, 2013 @ 12:24 pm
The fastball velocity plot for Verlander is amazing. The lower end is so consistently right around 91-92 it’s like someone was drawing it with a ruler. It’s like he knows exactly how to throw at that speed as his baseline low-end fastball and cranks it up from there as needed.
I was panicking a bit until Jason H pointed out other examples. Felix Hernandez is another. Is there a tweak to the radar guns this year? Is this a natural effect for a pitcher of Weaver’s age and innings pitched?
I hope so, our rotation is pretty thin even with Weaver pitching like a Cy Young contender…
Why does the drop have to be 3.5 mph? And what does the actual speed have to do with the change? We couldn’t have Weaver both have a velocity drop and still pitch in the low 90’s, since he started in the low 90’s. Similarly, if you average around or slightly over 95 in 2012, then don’t even touch your average in two starts (Price), it might be noteworthy.
…personally, I think the most likely explanation for all of these is that they are just statistical outliers, and that there will be regression with more data. But I don’t think the examples I am pointing out are much different than the Weaver case (or Sabathia).
While obviously 85MPH isn’t going to get it done, Weaver has never been a guy that depends on velocity. You cloud the story by listing his velocity in ranges — over his career his average fastball velocity is at 89.4 MPH and was at 88.7 in 2009 and 88.0 in 2012. Weaver’s success is based on his deceptive delivery; he steps toward the RH batter’s box, than throws across his body, effectively hiding the hiding his release point from the hitter.
I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, but it surely isn’t predictive to say there is “red flag”. Weaver had his worst statistical season the same year he had his highest FB velocity in 2008, and had the most wins last season when he had his lowest average velocity.
If you’re willing to trade away Weaver, I’d gladly take him off your hands…you can have Chris Davis.
Comment by MLB Rainmaker — April 8, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
It’s early in the season; it’s not unusual for pitchers to be throwing with a little less velocity in April. What makes Weaver notable is the lower velocity at the end of last season. Just as hitters that seem to take off in September deserve extra attention when it carries over to April, we may want to be extra worried about pitchers whose problems seem to span the end of one season and the beginning of the next. Certainly something that deserves more investigation, anyway.
I’d expect his K% and maybe HR/FB rates to suffer with a decreased velocity, however.
Comment by Steve Staude. — April 8, 2013 @ 3:38 pm
Weaver’s success is based on his deceptive delivery; he steps toward the RH batter’s box, than throws across his body, effectively hiding the hiding his release point from the hitter.
In combination with arm angle and good control and command as well.
He’s one of the rarish guys that can step across his body (informal term) and still throw a lot of strikes and be repeatable with it.
JW is also throwing a greater % of FT’s (2-seamers) and FC’s (cutters), which are thrown at slightly lower velocities than 4-seamers … so that could account for some of the reduced velocity as well. He’s also pitching more IP/season as compared to the past, so he * could be pacing himself* a little more.
His K/9 numbers are the concern, which could correlate with velocity. But, we’d also need to know whether he’s intentionally throwing with lower velocity at times hoping to get GB’s or more contact, or whether he’s no longer able to throw the ball by batters like he once did.
Comment by CircleChange11 — April 8, 2013 @ 3:52 pm
The breaking pitch he dominated with in spring training was not what he showed in that Cubs start. I don’t know if he didn’t have a feel for it or if he couldn’t find a good release point, but as you can see in the highlights from a spring training start against the Mets, the pitch normally has a lot more vertical depth to it.
weaver’s velocity has declined ever since 2010, and he’s 30. after a stint on the DL last year, and complaining of “total body fatigue” after his final start, i’ve seen him as a collapse risk for quite a while. angel stadium may hide some of it, but it’s only a matter of time
The announcers during the game mentioned how Weaver went from throwing a 4SFB to a 2SFB to a no-seam FB (which he learned from Scott Shields). Increased reliance on a slower pitch with more movement would explain some of the velocity drop without concerns that it is a loss of power.
This article isn’t about two games. It’s about an overall downward trend over the past couple seasons. Do you not see it and how Weaver’s chart looks different than the other three you pulled? At the very least it is something to keep an eye on.
“”Weaver, who threw three innings in the Angels’ 12-6 victory over Team Italy on Wednesday, said that the team’s training staff has helped work his pitching shoulder back into shape. Weaver is back to throwing at three-quarters — his natural arm slot — after coming over the top for two years.”
I don’t know about his last start in 2012, or how much this would effect FB velocity, but Weaver was having control problems with his fastballs during his last two starts. Maybe the control issues were affecting his velocity, or maybe his velocity was affecting his control.