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Sunday, August 08, 2021

Rangers 3B Brock Holt throws slowest called strike MLB has ever tracked

Before you read this, go crumple up a paper ball and peg it at a trash can as hard you can.

Congratulations, you’ve probably thrown an object faster than an MLB pitcher on the mound this year.

Texas Rangers third baseman Brock Holt took the mound on Saturday and came out firing with a historical dearth of heat. His first pitch: a 31 mph strike that really has to be seen to be understood.


Holt was called in to pitch with the Rangers down 12-3 to the Oakland Athletics. In a game that had pretty much been decided, he delivered one of the most unusual scoreless innings MLB has ever seen, throwing six pitches slower than 40 mph.

Holt opened the inning with eephus pitches to Josh Harrison, allowed a single to Matt Chapman that was erased when Chapman was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double and got a flyout from Tony Kemp.

According to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, Holt’s opening 31.3 mph called strike was the slowest pitch to be called a strike since MLB started pitch striking in 2008. The previous slowest pitch had been a 41.3 mph beauty from Willians Astudillo in June earlier this year.

It’s worth noting that Holt’s other pitches had some heat, and that really shows when you overlay the two pitches.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2021 at 06:45 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brock holt, position players pitching

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   1. villageidiom Posted: August 09, 2021 at 08:54 AM (#6033510)
He also offered his glove and hat to the umpire, to check for foreign substances, after the inning. Brock Holt continues to be awesome.
   2. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: August 09, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6033514)
The A's might have won that game, but Brock Holt won that game.
   3. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: August 09, 2021 at 01:30 PM (#6033537)
I just don't find this that entertaining. "Who can throw the slowest pitch" isn't interesting. Teams are carrying 13-14 pitchers yet regularly go to position players? #### that. Like anything else this is the kind of thing that CAN be fun but it just happens way too much now.
   4. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 09, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6033539)

He also offered his glove and hat to the umpire, to check for foreign substances, after the inning.

I agree with #3 but that part above is hilarious.
   5. jingoist Posted: August 09, 2021 at 02:53 PM (#6033547)
So.....what did the umpire find; stickem?
   6. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: August 09, 2021 at 02:57 PM (#6033548)
His World Series ring.
   7. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: August 09, 2021 at 03:12 PM (#6033549)
honestly, this was pretty fun just because 30-31 mph is sooooo slow - and it was a strike.
   8. Jay Seaver Posted: August 09, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6033574)
The funniest part was that the pitch tracker thing showed it crossing the front plane of home plate something like a foot over the hitter's but very clearly going through the zone at a near-vertical angle. I'm mostly with Jose in that I'd rather not see hitters pitching unless the bullpen is literally empty or at least thoroughly spent from a long series, which shouldn't ever happen with how much of the roster is relief pitchers, but at least this one offered some "there's something you don't see every day" material.
   9. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 09, 2021 at 05:38 PM (#6033579)
I just don't find this that entertaining. "Who can throw the slowest pitch" isn't interesting.


I beg to differ.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2021 at 06:34 PM (#6033586)
On the Australian mlb.tv feed, we get mostly "highlights" between innings (and gambling ads). Alas, as in maybe 20 15-second highlights repeated ad nauseum. Anyway, the relevant point is that one of them is Rizzo striking out Freddie Freeman with both players thinking it's hilarious. So apparently MLB thinks this "sells" at some level.
   11. RickG Posted: August 09, 2021 at 07:01 PM (#6033590)
My 10-year-old found it awesome when I told him. "You mean my changeup is faster than an actual major league pitch?"
   12. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: August 10, 2021 at 12:56 PM (#6033664)
So apparently MLB thinks this "sells" at some level.


It probably does. It would not surprise me to learn that as a 50 year old white man with no kids that maybe, just maybe, I don't have my finger on the pulse of pop culture and what works with the young'ns.
   13. villageidiom Posted: August 10, 2021 at 01:51 PM (#6033670)
honestly, this was pretty fun just because 30-31 mph is sooooo slow - and it was a strike.
That was the main thing for me. Like, his first pitch right away is an eephus strike. I don't really care that it was the slowest pitch ever recorded; it's an eephus strike. The hitter can't just wait it out for a "fastball". I see this as no different (in entertainment) than a good knuckleball.

The trend of teams effectively giving up late in the game is not great, but given they were trying to get the game over without literally quitting I liked the approach both teams took. The A's ran into an unnecessary out in that inning, trying to stretch a single into a double and having pretty much no chance to succeed. Make outs, move it along.
   14. Rally Posted: August 10, 2021 at 01:52 PM (#6033671)
I am surprised that a 31 mph pitch can make it to home plate.

That is 31 mph as measured from when it is released from his hand. At least that’s how they measure for other pitches. But most of that velocity is going upwards, the ball takes a lot longer to get to home plate than say, a motorcycle moving at 31 mph for 60 feet 6 inches.
   15. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 10, 2021 at 04:29 PM (#6033697)
Brock Holt!
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 10, 2021 at 05:18 PM (#6033706)

Anyway, the relevant point is that one of them is Rizzo striking out Freddie Freeman with both players thinking it's hilarious. So apparently MLB thinks this "sells" at some level.

I think it's fun to watch people who enjoy what they're doing, as long as they're generally taking their craft seriously. It's an added bonus when I'm watching a TV show, for example, and I can tell the actors are really enjoying themselves and like working together.
   17. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 10, 2021 at 07:01 PM (#6033723)
That was the main thing for me. Like, his first pitch right away is an eephus strike. I don't really care that it was the slowest pitch ever recorded; it's an eephus strike. The hitter can't just wait it out for a "fastball". I see this as no different (in entertainment) than a good knuckleball.

This is a main hope for me for improvement to the game via robot umpires: if a pitcher can actually get the call by nicking an edge of the strike zone (which, remember, is three-dimensional) from some bizarre angle, or by throwing a high-arc pitch that drops almost straight behind home plate - which couldn't happen now - I think that would be weird and fun, and therefore better for baseball.
   18. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: August 10, 2021 at 09:44 PM (#6033759)
or by throwing a high-arc pitch that drops almost straight behind home plate


And none of this floating eephus nonsense. That's fine for Brock Holt, but I want to see Jake deGrom fire a pitch into the stratosphere and have it nearly burn up on reentry.
   19. bunyon Posted: August 10, 2021 at 09:49 PM (#6033761)
18: think of the ads they could sell during the pitch. M

Or a guy might steal second third and home on one pitch.
   20. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 09:11 AM (#6033794)
Teams are carrying 13-14 pitchers yet regularly go to position players? #### that.

I have posted this exact sentiment here several times. Thank you for taking up the cause for me while I was out on vacation.
   21. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: August 11, 2021 at 09:23 AM (#6033797)
I got your back.
   22. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: August 11, 2021 at 09:28 AM (#6033798)
Why are these position players throwing it so slow? We know they can hit at least 80 with ease from the mound. They throw it faster than that in routine plays everyday. This bothers me more than stupidly using them as much as they do now.
   23. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 11, 2021 at 09:56 AM (#6033802)
Brock Holt pitching in a 12-3 game is a lot more interesting than the 14th nameless AAAA reliever throwing an inning.

We know they can hit at least 80 with ease from the mound.

And we know MLB hitters will absolutely destroy their 82 mph straight fastball. Holt almost gave up a HR to end the inning on one of his few 79 mph fastballs.
   24. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6033807)
Brock Holt pitching in a 12-3 game is a lot more interesting than the 14th nameless AAAA reliever throwing an inning.

From a player development perspective, it looks to me like there is no shortage of Rangers relievers who might benefit from being able to get some more game experience in low-leverage situations rather than turning the game over to a utility infielder. Conceding that there are already plenty of low-leverage mop-up innings available in Rangers games, still why waste the opportunity with the arms you have available on that date?
   25. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 11, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6033811)
I am on Team Amused.
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 12:28 PM (#6033826)
We know they can hit at least 80 with ease from the mound.

Can they consistently get it over the plate at 80? I think they're trying to get the batter to swing and make contact.
   27. Darren Posted: August 11, 2021 at 12:58 PM (#6033833)
I just don't find this that entertaining. "Who can throw the slowest pitch" isn't interesting. Teams are carrying 13-14 pitchers yet regularly go to position players? #### that. Like anything else this is the kind of thing that CAN be fun but it just happens way too much now.

sor
I'm with Jose here. I didn't even like Larry Walker and Randy Johnson horsing around in the All-Star game. Here are my parameters for when this is sort of thing is fun:

--Exhibition game
--If it's happening very rarely in real games.
--If the teams are actually competing and a position player or regular pitcher uses some weirdo pitch to gain an actual advantage.

Lawn. Off of it. Get. My.
   28. phredbird Posted: August 11, 2021 at 07:53 PM (#6033921)

mike wilbon called it 'stupid', so that's enough for me to like it.

but i liked it anyway. amused.

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