Kyle Farnsworth is intimidating. The Tampa Bay Rays right-hander throws hard and isn’t afraid to come inside. He is also a sculpted 6-foot-4, 240 pounds with a background in martial arts. Charging the mound against him has never been a good idea.
That tough-guy image has overshadowed a long and mostly successful career. Farnsworth has never been a star, but he has appeared in 814 regular season games and 15 post-season games. In 941 innings he has fanned 934 batters. He has backed down to none of them.
David Laurila: How different a pitcher are you now compared to when you broke into the big leagues?
Kyle Farnsworth: Not too much different. I obviously don’t throw as hard as I did back then. That’s going to happen over the years and this is my 15th season. You just have to continue to make adjustments as hitters make adjustments to you.
DL: How hard did you throw in those early years?
KF: I think I topped out at 103, but I was mostly high-90s. You can get away with a lot more mistakes when you’re throwing that hard, as opposed to being 90 or something like that. It’s a good luxury to have.
DL: Did you reach a point in your career where velocity wasn’t as important?
KF: Not really, although I realized that maybe movement was a little more important than velocity. Eventually hitters are going to catch up to straight 98, as opposed to movement and 94. That’s a lot harder to hit and the type of thing you figure out the longer you are into your career. You’d like to figure them out a whole earlier, but you figure them out when you figure them out.
DL: Have you ever done anything to improve the movement on your fastball? Read the rest of this entry »