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Velocity Risers & Fallers: Pitchers Who Lost What They Once Had

What we know is that velocity matters for pitchers, and depending on who how much you know, velocity may matter more for pitchers than you are aware of.

Specifically we know from the research that Mike Fast did in his Lose a tick, gain a tick artictle that for every mile per hour lost in velocity a starter’s runs allowed goes up by .283 runs per nine innings.

Beyond that, from the same research done by Mike Fast, we also know that there are two important thresholds for pitchers when in comes to velocity:

  1. Pitchers that throw 89MPH or harder have significantly better results than pitchers that throw slower than that benchmark.
  2. Pitchers that throw 93MPH or harder are more effective than pitchers underneath that threshold.

In this post we will look at pitchers that pitchers that gained or lost the most velocity from the first half of the season to the second half of the season in 2014. Many of the names that you will see were breakouts or busts from last year.

2014 Velocity Risers and Fallers

For this research we will look at all pitchers that threw ten or more innings in the first half of 2014 and pitchers that threw 10 or more inning in the second half of 2014.

PlayerTeamvDIFFfipDIFFFIP (1st Half)vFA (1st Half)FIP (2nd Half)vFA (2nd Half)
Miles MikolasRangers2.80.884.1190.24.9993
Carlos CarrascoIndians2.4-1.993.7293.41.7395.8
Zach McAllisterIndians1.9-1.044.0791.93.0393.8
James PaxtonMariners1.8-0.423.6392.93.2194.7
Chris SaleWhite Sox1.60.232.4791.82.793.4
Taijuan WalkerMariners1.6-3.526.3392.92.8194.5
Danny SalazarIndians1.3-1.884.7193.82.8395.1
Cole HamelsPhillies1.3-0.433.2791.52.8492.8
Tyson RossPadres1.2-0.13.2892.93.1894.1
Jesse ChavezAthletics1.22.413.4590.95.8692.1
Robbie RayTigers1.10.754.1590.34.991.4
John DanksWhite Sox1.10.454.5988.15.0489.2
Tyler SkaggsAngels1.1-0.013.5591.73.5492.8
Zack GreinkeDodgers1.10.152.9191.43.0692.5
Trevor CahillDiamondbacks1.1-2.055.7990.43.7491.5
Mark BuehrleBlue Jays1-0.133.7183.53.5884.5
Edinson VolquezPirates0.8-0.554.4292.83.8793.6
Josh TomlinIndians0.80.673.8688.84.5389.6
Corey KluberIndians0.7-0.982.78931.893.7
Chase AndersonDiamondbacks0.7-0.954.7290.73.7791.4
Dallas KeuchelAstros0.70.193.1389.33.3290
Jered WeaverAngels0.7-0.124.2486.54.1287.2
Stephen StrasburgNationals0.70.532.7294.43.2595.1
Michael PinedaYankees0.7-0.022.7391.42.7192.1
Jimmy NelsonBrewers0.6-0.244.0393.13.7993.7
Roenis EliasMariners0.6-0.844.2991.63.4592.2
Robbie RossRangers0.61.544.6890.36.2290.9
Michael WachaCardinals0.60.813.04933.8593.6
Max ScherzerTigers0.6-0.262.9692.52.793.1
Drew HutchisonBlue Jays0.60.293.7391.94.0292.5
Madison BumgarnerGiants0.60.22.9791.73.1792.3
Kyle GibsonTwins0.60.113.7591.23.8691.8
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgers0.6-0.762.8690.72.191.3
Nick TepeschRangers0.60.094.9689.45.0590
Garrett RichardsAngels0.5-0.312.6996.32.3896.8
Bud NorrisOrioles0.5-1.154.74933.5993.5
Hector NoesiWhite Sox0.50.094.83924.9292.5
Wei-Yin ChenOrioles0.5-1.24.4291.73.2292.2
Clay BuchholzRed Sox0.5-1.094.5991.43.591.9
Drew SmylyTigers0.5-1.874.7189.92.8490.4
Kevin CorreiaTwins0.50.44.3889.74.7890.2
Scott BakerRangers0.51.564.7889.26.3489.7
Edwin JacksonCubs0.40.784.2592.65.0393
Anibal SanchezTigers0.4-12.95921.9592.4
Yovani GallardoBrewers0.4-0.554.1691.13.6191.5
Nick MartinezRangers0.4-2.656.64913.9991.4
Chris TillmanOrioles0.4-1.114.4990.63.3891
Mat LatosReds0.40.253.4990.53.7490.9
Ryan VogelsongGiants0.41.043.4390.34.4790.7
Wily PeraltaBrewers0.40.014.1195.44.1295.8
Felix HernandezMariners0.41.362.0392.43.3992.8
Jose QuintanaWhite Sox0.4-0.092.8591.22.7691.6
Jake PeavyRed Sox0.4-1.424.7189.73.2990.1
Scott CarrollWhite Sox0.40.224.7289.24.9489.6
Jason VargasRoyals0.4-0.764.0987.23.3387.6
Lance LynnCardinals0.30.023.3492.63.3692.9
A.J. BurnettPhillies0.30.483.9691.64.4491.9
Jeff Samardzija- - -0.30.253.0994.43.3494.7
Homer BaileyReds0.30.123.9194.24.0394.5
Chris ArcherRays0.30.343.25943.5994.3
Shelby MillerCardinals0.3-0.64.7793.34.1793.6
Matt GarzaBrewers0.30.523.4192.53.9392.8
Henderson AlvarezMarlins0.30.633.35923.9892.3
Rafael MonteroMets0.3-2.26.33924.1392.3
Jordan LylesRockies0.30.683.9191.54.5991.8
Rick PorcelloTigers0.3-0.73.9490.43.2490.7
Ricky NolascoTwins0.3-0.764.5690.23.890.5
Yusmeiro PetitGiants0.3-1.364.4288.33.0688.6
Zack WheelerMets0.20.323.4294.63.7494.8
Hiroki KurodaYankees0.2-0.733.9190.63.1890.8
C.J. WilsonAngels0.20.14.2890.54.3890.7
Colby LewisRangers0.20.584.1788.74.7588.9
Jacob deGromMets0.2-1.23.2493.42.0493.6
James ShieldsRoyals0.2-0.363.7492.43.3892.6
Mike MinorBraves0.20.084.3690.44.4490.6
Eric StultsPadres0.2-1.365.2287.93.8688.1
Ubaldo JimenezOrioles0.10.554.790.65.2590.7
Tim HudsonGiants0.10.953.1989.14.1489.2
Scott FeldmanAstros0.1-0.474.3588.63.8888.7
Collin McHughAstros0.1-0.893.5291.42.6391.5
Liam HendriksBlue Jays0.1-3.566.2191.22.6591.3
Hisashi IwakumaMariners0.10.13.2893.389.1
Dan HarenDodgers0.1-0.924.4587.53.5387.6
R.A. DickeyBlue Jays0.1-0.434.581.44.0781.5
Nathan EovaldiMarlins00.143.3295.53.4695.5
Jordan ZimmermannNationals0-0.182.7693.72.5893.7
Jake ArrietaCubs00.242.1493.42.3893.4
David PriceRays0-0.823.1193.32.2993.3
Clayton KershawDodgers00.411.692.92.0192.9
J.A. HappBlue Jays00.164.192.74.2692.7
Yu DarvishRangers00.452.7592.53.292.5
Jason Hammel- - -01.93.3392.45.2392.4
Ervin SantanaBraves00.223.392.33.5292.3
Brad PeacockAstros01.194.6592.15.8492.1
Gio GonzalezNationals0-0.563.2992.12.7392.1
Jacob TurnerMarlins00.344.4491.84.7891.8
Josh BeckettDodgers04.73.8591.68.5591.6
Julio TeheranBraves003.4991.33.4991.3
Tanner RoarkNationals00.33.3491.13.6491.1
Jeff LockePirates02.472.9590.55.4290.5
Roberto HernandezPhillies00.154.8390.14.9890.1
Vidal Nuno- - -0-0.674.789.24.0389.2
Dillon GeeMets00.734.189.14.8389.1
Rubby de la RosaRed Sox-0.11.043.7593.64.7993.5
Francisco LirianoPirates-0.1-1.294.2792.82.9892.7
Wade MileyDiamondbacks-0.10.053.9691.34.0191.2
Felix DoubrontRed Sox-0.1-0.645.389.84.6689.7
Drew PomeranzAthletics-0.1-2.354.1391.41.7891.3
Franklin MoralesRockies-0.1-1.015.6191.24.691.1
Brett AndersonRockies-0.1-2.024.0890.22.0690.1
Jarred CosartAstros-0.2-0.634.0393.63.493.4
Sonny GrayAthletics-0.20.473.2693.13.7392.9
Phil HughesTwins-0.20.092.6192.12.791.9
Adam WainwrightCardinals-0.20.932.5290.63.4590.4
Robbie ErlinPadres-0.20.693.3989.64.0889.4
Andrew CashnerPadres-0.20.692.83953.5294.8
Jon NieseMets-0.20.073.6488.93.7188.7
Yordano VenturaRoyals-0.30.133.5896.23.7195.9
Matt ShoemakerAngels-0.30.12.8290.62.9290.3
David PhelpsYankees-0.30.54.0890.34.5890
Christian BergmanRockies-0.3-2.466.5389.14.0788.8
Doug FisterNationals-0.3-0.344.11883.7787.7
Tommy MiloneAthletics-0.31.814.4286.56.2386.2
Johnny CuetoReds-0.30.373.1592.93.5292.6
Tom KoehlerMarlins-0.3-0.654.1192.93.4692.6
Ian KennedyPadres-0.30.742.9391.93.6791.6
Kevin GausmanOrioles-0.4-0.23.5595.13.3594.7
Miguel GonzalezOrioles-0.4-0.665.1291.14.4690.7
Alex CobbRays-0.4-1.163.8691.12.790.7
Yohan PinoTwins-0.40.853.4788.84.3288.4
Gerrit ColePirates-0.4-1.363.7595.52.3995.1
Alfredo SimonReds-0.40.014.3393.74.3493.3
Jorge de la RosaRockies-0.4-0.654.6392.53.9892.1
Brad HandMarlins-0.4-0.064.1592.44.0992
Mike LeakeReds-0.40.413.71914.1290.6
Alex WoodBraves-0.4-0.43.4589.93.0589.5
Justin VerlanderTigers-0.5-0.734.0293.33.2992.8
Tyler MatzekRockies-0.5-0.083.7892.53.792
Erasmo RamirezMariners-0.5-1.85.791.23.990.7
Cliff LeePhillies-0.51.642.6989.44.3388.9
Travis WoodCubs-0.50.284.2888.64.5688.1
Bruce ChenRoyals-0.54.513.42867.9385.5
Marcus StromanBlue Jays-0.6-0.743.2493.82.593.2
Jeremy GuthrieRoyals-0.6-1.384.8892.33.591.7
Jon LesterRed Sox-0.60.472.6191.83.0891.2
Aaron HarangBraves-0.60.043.55893.5988.4
Danny DuffyRoyals-0.6-0.093.9693.43.8792.8
Chris YoungMariners-0.60.145.0285.45.1684.8
Charlie MortonPirates-0.7-0.263.7991.63.5390.9
Joe KellyCardinals-0.71.533.1395.74.6695
Jesse HahnPadres-0.71.542.7991.34.3390.6
David BuchananPhillies-0.7-1.174.8590.43.6889.7
Tim LincecumGiants-0.71.643.8389.85.4789.1
Brett OberholtzerAstros-0.7-0.093.689.83.5189.1
Trevor BauerIndians-0.80.083.9794.24.0593.4
Shane GreeneYankees-0.80.623.1394.13.7593.3
Jake OdorizziRays-0.81.363.2190.54.5789.7
Vance WorleyPirates-0.8-0.353.59903.2489.2
Bartolo ColonMets-0.8-0.223.6690.93.4490.1
Josh CollmenterDiamondbacks-0.9-0.143.8986.53.7585.6
Justin MastersonIndians-11.944.0890.56.0289.5
John LackeyRed Sox-1.20.683.5292.14.290.9
Brandon WorkmanRed Sox-1.3-0.814.8790.94.0689.6
Kyle LohseBrewers-1.30.93.6389.94.5388.6
Hector SantiagoAngels-1.40.444.2191.44.6590
Scott KazmirAthletics-1.90.423.1992.73.6190.8

The column that is titled vDIFF is the difference in velocity that a player had from the first half of 2014 to the second half of 2014. If a player has a negative number that means their velocity went down; if they have a positive number that means their velocity went up.

By default, the chart shows the players that saw the largest increase in velocity.

The column that has fipDIFF as the header is the difference in FIP the player saw from the first half of the season to the second half of the season. If the player has a negative fipDIF that means their FIP went down from the first half of the season to the second half of the season; if they half a positive number, that means their FIP went up.

Velocity Risers

Right away you can see a lot of players that broke out in the second half of last season or had an appreciably more successful second half than their first half: Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Danny Salazar, etc.

Out of the top twenty velocity risers from last season, ten of those players reached the 93MPH threshold, and 8 out of the 10 pitchers that reached that threshold saw a decrease in FIP! One out of the two pitchers that saw an increase in FIP was Chris Sale, who was coming down from pretty high peek in the first half.

The name that jumps out to me on this list, beside Carlos Carrasco who I feel like the world is pretty aware of by now, is Zach McAllister.

Zach McAllister jumped up from a 91.9MPH fastball in the first half of the season to a 93.8MPH in the second half.

Below is a chart of McAllister’s fastball velocity by month over the course of his career. The black line at the top is his fastball velocity over the course of his career, and you can notice that in July and August, McAllister’s velocity spiked to levels that he had never reached before. At the same time his whiff percentage—amount of times a batter swung and missed divided by total swings—on fastballs doubled over the course of the season; he had a 4.39 whiff rate on fastballs in May, 6.58 in July, and 11.11 in September. He was injured throughout the course of the year, so the sample is somewhat small for some months, but still!

Zach McAllister's career velocity by pitch type by month. Provided by Brooks Baseball

Zach McAllister’s career velocity by pitch type by month. Provided by Brooks Baseball

Velocity Fallers

Out of the top 40 velocity fallers, eight pitchers fell beneath the 89MPH threshold; of those eight pitchers seven of them saw an increase in their FIP.

Scott Kazmir saw his velocity drop the most out of all starters last year, while his FIP went up almost half a run—.42—over the same time period. With all of the health issues that Kazmir has gone through before, this velocity decrease seems somewhat ominous, but he is still above the 89MPH.

When the season starts and some pitchers start to flourish while others fall in the power rankings, it may be a good idea to check their velocity and see if you can get any insights by changes that may have happened.

Photo Credit to John

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Devin Jordan

Devin Jordan is obsessed with statistical analysis, non-fiction literature, and electronic music. If you enjoyed reading him, follow him on Twitter!
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