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Fastballs Newsbeat

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The Importance of Fastball Shape

So how do pitchers gain fastball effectiveness beyond what the radar gun says? By creating differentiation between their fastball and the norm by utilizing either rise or sink. The further one can get from the norm, the more effective the pitch can be beyond just the pure speed. Hitters expect a fastball to behave a certain way out of the hand and when it doesn’t, regardless of the direction in which it deviates, it creates challenges in terms of making hard contact, or any contact at all.

To illustrate, there was a recent four-year run with the Blue Jays in which Marco Estrada was a pretty darn good starting pitcher. His best year came in 2016, when he had a 3.48 ERA over 176 innings and posted 2.7 WAR. He did this while averaging just 88.1 mph on his fastball. Of course his exquisite changeup was his signature pitch, but he still threw his fastball nearly 50% of the time. There are plenty of minor league arms with plus changeups who are doomed for the waiver wire due to a lack of giddy-up on their heater, so how did Estrada survive and even thrive at times? Simple: he deviated from the norm.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 06, 2021 at 09:37 PM | 4 comment(s)
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