They do, because they’re good hitters. But there’s not much we can do about it. And there’s no evidence that the velocity of the fastball is affecting the way that pitchers turn it. That’s just another case of what we might call “spin,” or “spin-control,” or whatever you want. And if you were a pitcher, would you want to use the same pitch and change the angle of your pitches to compensate for the fact that your speed was limited as you were doing it? I don’t think so.
I think we have the technology now to create a better velocity, but I don’t want that to change the way that we pitch, because one of the reasons we have a velocity advantage is that, although the game has changed a lot in the last couple of years, the fact that we don’t know whether someone can turn the bat when it’s not coming at full speed is still the same thing.
How does velocity impact defense?
It affects the ability to get out of the box. When we go from fastballs to breaking stuff, the average distance of runners’ hits is pretty close to how it was before. But they’re also much more often hit with four-seam fastballs or two-seam fastballs. So it’s not just about the change. If we make the breaking balls harder, it affects the defense in other ways. And if the breaking balls become even quicker, it becomes harder to make contact with them in the infield.
Are pitchers going to come back with the same mechanics?
I’ll be honest: I never thought my mechanics were going to change. When you hear the term “cutters,” which is what I used to do, for me it was the same. I didn’t try to change it. I thought all I had to do was be a little better, a little sharper, a little quicker with my delivery, a little lighter. But I never thought I was going to change it. I thought I’d just kind of be a bit faster and slightly more balanced and have the same motion with my weight transfer. But that didn’t work out.
Now that we’ve done a lot of work on breaking pitches, in terms of how they do with spin, the idea isn’t to make them harder. They’ll have to keep getting worse. And, yeah, there’s some evidence that the hitters who are hitting breaking balls better are getting better with their offspeed pitches. (There is also a
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