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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Max Muncy’s single off a 103-mph fastball was a rare triumph for the human mind – Orange County Register

Now, some hitters will have seen this velocity even before reaching the professional ranks. The adjustment process begins sooner. As Roberts said, “95 is the new 90. That’s just what their normal is.”
What Muncy did against Hicks was not normal.

“The real separator from the highest levels to the level beneath,” Ochart said, “are the visual and the neurological ability to see and perceive and, I guess, be able to know and guess where the ball’s going to be based on a small amount of visual data.”

Facing Hicks for the first time on Monday, Muncy described his approach – ironically – as “slowing down” his usual process. He started his swing sooner and, ever so slightly, expanded the area of the strike zone he wanted to protect.

“You have to still try to stay within yourself,” Muncy said.

It’s all a hitter can do. For now, that’s still enough.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2018 at 06:12 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, max muncy

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 10, 2018 at 06:39 AM (#5763829)
Hicks wasn’t really a strike out pitcher in most of his appearances. Batters did not seem that troubled to put the bat on the ball. So I’m not sure I believe the story that they can’t hit 103+ pitching. Contact proved to be downward which led to a lot of ground balls but contact wasn’t really that weak. If Hicks fully develops his off speed stuff, at some point he will become unhittable, but he’s hittable now.
   2. perros Posted: October 10, 2018 at 07:26 AM (#5763831)
Muncy is a remarkable hitter, regardless. I'd like to read how that happened.
   3. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 10, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5763848)

This was a decent article by Olney about Muncy's work during the offseason. Not a lot of detail but still interesting.
   4. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: October 10, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5763876)
More than once I have read that the radar guns are part of the reason pitchers are registering 100+ fastballs. More pitchers are throwing hard, but the top end stuff isn't that much faster than 20 or 30 years ago supposedly.
   5. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: October 10, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5763882)
More than once I have read that the radar guns are part of the reason pitchers are registering 100+ fastballs. More pitchers are throwing hard, but the top end stuff isn't that much faster than 20 or 30 years ago supposedly.


IDK... better training regimens from younger ages, better medical care, and maybe most importantly - different usage patterns - have led to more 100+ guys. Maybe that also means that guys who - in a training/medicine/usage vacuum - are no different than 100 years ago also gain a tick or so. I don't see why pitching would be any different than various, say, track and field records - where records from generations past are long left in the dust and the elite competitors regularly breach.

However, that said - I don't the extra tick or so (if it exists) actually means as much. Baseball history is littered with guys with high octane gas that struggled to be middling, either because the FB was straight as an arrow, they couldn't change speeds effectively, or had nothing else to prevent a hitter from just sitting dead red.

   6. perros Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5763990)
Muncy's work during the offseason. Not a lot of detail but still interesting.


Setting up differently I get, and the article mentions outstanding hand-eye coordination, but this fits a lot of major leaguers. The Dodgers as a team are very good at taking pitches just off the plate that you can't drive regardless.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5763996)
I don't see why pitching would be any different than various, say, track and field records - where records from generations past are long left in the dust and the elite competitors regularly breach.

This is actually controversial - some experts assert that a high percentage of the difference between Usain Bolt and Jesse Owens, for example, is actually technology. The starting blocks, the shoes, the track surface, the stopwatches. This is true even in seemingly technology-free sports like swimming. Speedos are more aerodynamic than they used to be. Modern pools suppress waves better.

"Consider that Usain Bolt started by propelling himself out of blocks down a specially fabricated carpet designed to allow him to travel as fast as humanly possible. Jesse Owens, on the other hand, ran on cinders, the ash from burnt wood, and that soft surface stole far more energy from his legs as he ran.

"Rather than blocks, Jesse Owens had a gardening trowel that he had to use to dig holes in the cinders to start from. Biomechanical analysis of the speed of Owens’ joints shows that had been running on the same surface as Bolt, he wouldn’t have been 14 feet behind, he would have been within one stride."


a Ted Talk on this
   8. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5763998)
More than once I have read that the radar guns are part of the reason pitchers are registering 100+ fastballs.


In part yes, it used to be that the guns measured the speed of the ball halfway between the mound and home plate.

Several years ago, that was changed and the reading is now taken when the pitch leaves the pitcher's hand, leading to a boost in the pitch speed.

   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 10, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5764001)
This is actually controversial - some experts assert that a high percentage of the difference between Usain Bolt and Jesse Owens, for example, is actually technology. The starting blocks, the shoes, the track surface, the stopwatches. This is true even in seemingly technology-free sports like swimming. Speedos are more aerodynamic than they used to be. Modern pools suppress waves better.
Interesting, but I'm not sold (although maybe I should watch TFTT). Even setting aside nutrition, etc., I would think the refinement of mechanics over the years has to lead to improvements. Maybe not so much with running, which is more of a "natural" thing - although I'm sure a lot of research has been done on the ideal stride - but certainly with pitching. If you go back to, say, Bob Feller's day, there was a lot of flailing, slinging, akimboness and generally inefficient motion in most (or nearly all?) pitchers' mechanics.
   10. Rally Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5764005)
Pitchers now vs. Pitchers 80+ years ago is like comparing the speed to sprinters to marathoners.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5764006)
The video is worth watching. There are absolutely major "refinement of mechanics" improvements too.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:22 PM (#5764016)
Also it doesn't mean that Usain Bolt wasn't in fact running a lot faster than Jesse Owens, he was. If MLB pitchers have benefited from improvements in equipment, uniforms, playing surface etc, those are real gains that the batter needs to deal with.

But I do find it tough to believe that there are now some 40 pitchers that throw as hard as Rob Dibble did.
   13. Rally Posted: October 10, 2018 at 01:27 PM (#5764071)
But I do find it tough to believe that there are now some 40 pitchers that throw as hard as Rob Dibble did.


I can believe it. We have a ton of pitchers who can average 97-98, and touch 100. But there are only 2 guys who regularly exceed 100, Chapman and Hicks. My guess is that Dibble, or Mark Wohlers, would have similar top end and average velocity as those 2 guys for their peak years.

The high end hasn't really changed, we just have more pitchers able to get close to the maximum pitch speed.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: October 10, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5764297)
Put me down with #13, especially since most of these guys hitting high speeds are relievers who are going just one inning and, some time ago, realized one-inning high-velocity relief was their (only?) ticket to the majors. Fifty years ago, these guys either didn't make the majors (often due to injuries) or failed as SPs (often due to injuries). Now if you can throw 98 for one inning at a time and your arm can handle that for 180 innings, that's 3 years as a reliever.

Or imagine how hard Randy Johnson could have thrown if he only had to go one inning and, after age 25, stopped trying to develop any kind of breaking pitch. Or ... just remember Mitch Williams. Or Matt Anderson. There are probably lots of guys who could have hit 97-98 pretty consistently if that was all they had to do.

Also put me down for waiting to see if Hicks becomes a good reliever (without developing a second pitch) and if his arm can survive this. To date, the only difference between Hicks and Anderson is the HR rate. For those that don't remember Matt Anderson, he was a young fireballing reliever with the Tigers, fastball straight as an arrow, poor control. Killed by walks and HRs and then injuries. Debuted at 21 (like Hicks) with a rather large amount of hype for a reliever. He was clocked at 100 if I recall, and that would have been with old guns reading in the middle.

EDIT: All that said, I don't have a clue how anybody can hit a 103-MPH fastball. But that said, nobody "hit" Hicks -- 208/333/257 -- so maybe Muncy just got lucky on a swing. If Hicks can learn control (esp if he can turn some BBs into Ks) and maintain a low HR rate, he'll do just fine.

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