Monday, July 14, 2014

Justin Verlander, velocity (or lack of it) and what it means

This FanGraphs velocity chart on Justin Verlander displays vividly what we knew all along:
Justin Verlander's velocity is significantly down.
And mot of his pitching statistics, across the board, are up. Verlander is 31. He has thrown so many pitches down through the years as kind of the lone "workhorse" remaining among MLB starting pitchers of his era.
Does it mean his career overall is on a downward track. I'm not so sure.
Justin Verlander:  It's puzzling
Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Bert Blylevin, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling are among the many top MLB starting pitchers, who had their struggles in their early 30s, either in regard to effectiveness or injury, and bounced back strongly. They weren't necessarily changed pitchers from fireballers to soft tossers, either, after they slumped at a certain age.
I don't know if the core surgery Verlander had this off season is a culprit for his drop this season in comparison to the 2014 postseason when he was incredibly effective.
It does seem like every thing about the way he pitches these days is out of whack. His location with his fastball is way off. There is little snap with his breaking ball. His changeup doesn't look like the same pitch. It's more than lack of velocity, which seems to be more of a case of aiming the ball for accuracy because of lack of command.
If there is no arm- or shoulder related injury, I do think Verlander will bounce back. But there is no denying his lack of effectiveness. A 4.88 ERA? Yeah, Verlander struggled last season with a 6.48 ERA in May, but his ERA at All-Star break was 3.50. Verlander didn't rack up high strikeout totals last season, either, although he reached double digits twice in his final two regular season appearance, in only six innings, each for the first time since May. Maybe we'll see a repeat of last season, but it's certainly no given.
It would be naïve to believe this is a repeat of last season. It's clearly worse.

My column. Six reasons the Tigers are sitting pretty at the All Star break:

My column. What it would take to save Brady Hoke's job as football coach at Michigan:


Blogger Barry said...

Pat, name of the game is location and movement not speed. I don't why baseball people get so excited when they draft a guy that throws 100 m.p.h. One of two things are guaranteed to happen, that pitcher will lose velocity and will need adjustment or the pitcher will get injury. Lot of people think it is the breaking pitches that cause injuries but fastballs are just as guilty. If bad mechanics is present,a fastball pitcher can eventually feel the shoulder pop in and out. Justin may want to try increasing the velocity on his secondary pitches.

1:15 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home