Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Fastball Is Disappearing. What Does It Mean for MLB’s Future?

Fastball use held steady from 2010 through 2015 at between 56.8% and 57.8%. Then the fastball began to fall out of favor, slowly at first, but with stunning drops in the past two seasons. Fastball percentage starting from 2015: 56.8, 56.3, 55.3, 54.5, 51.9 and–drum roll, please–49.7 at the start of this week. (Here and throughout, “fastball” references do not include cutters.)

“I think 95 is the new 90,” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Guys can really hit velocity. And so, to kind of get guys off of that, pitching off your secondaries … I really believe there’s a lot to that.”

It’s an upside-down world. Secondaries are primaries. And the simplest explanation why this strategy is happening is obvious: it works.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 03:01 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fastballs

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2020 at 06:44 PM (#5968914)
If fangraphs numbers are accurate, this has been entirely a shift from FB to sliders. From 2014-19, FB% dropped from 57.7% to 52.5% while sliders went from 13.7% to 18.4%. Every other pitch type is pretty much constant. The average veolocity of everything is up and mostly by about the same amount -- I forget when they changed to measuring it out of the hand ... or whether fangraphs has adjusted their historical numbers for that change but for now I'll assume that's due to the change in measurement.
   2. Jack Sommers Posted: August 10, 2020 at 07:15 PM (#5968919)
So what is the "adjustment" that hitters must make that Verducci keeps referring to ?
   3. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 09:08 PM (#5968937)
well dont stop there Walt, what does it mean for MLBs future?
   4. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2020 at 11:13 PM (#5968966)
DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! DOOM I say!!
   5. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2020 at 11:41 PM (#5968972)
Possibly more seriously ... Hitters are _hitting_ the ball better than ever. For the last decade, BABIP is pretty much unchanged, ISO is way up, LDs are up a bit (may be a definitional change), HR/FB is through the roof, and fangraphs shows a big jump in hard-hit% (mostly a crop in med-hit% ... I don't know how they have numbers back to 2010??), the pull/center/opp distribution is much the same. FWIW, wRC in 2019 was the highest this decade.

What we all know is that K% went from 18.5% in 2010 to 23.0% last year. That's gonna kill your BA for which hitters have compensated (at least in part) with more power.

Anyway Verducci is surely off the mark here. The massive drop in BA is just this season. Given FB% dropped 5% from 2010-19 while having minimal effect on BA (it was mid-250s through 2017, then 248 in 2018 and 252 in 2019) it seems odd that a further 2% drop would be the cause of a 20 point drop in BA. It might contribute but it's not gonna explain much of it. (Note K-rate is up 1% but so far walk rates are also up nearly 1%. ISO this year is in line with 2016-18 not the 2019 superball so the ball would be one place I'd look. FWIW, March/April last year, BA and BABIP were about 7 points lower than they finished so part of it could be "pitchers ahead of hitters" despite the warm weather. They are actually swinging a bit more often but swinging and missing a fair bit more often.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: August 11, 2020 at 12:41 AM (#5968974)
Jeff Passan

@JeffPassan
·
47m
Major League Baseball has had preliminary discussions about holding its postseason in a bubble-type format, sources familiar with the conversations told ESPN.
   7. Rally Posted: August 11, 2020 at 11:57 AM (#5969036)
My impression is that pitching staffs are taking advantage of the current rules. Starters pitching less than ever before, so they can go max effort and are rarely asked to pitch to hitters for the 3rd time through the order. Expanded bullpens so you never run out of fresh arms. Managers can no longer go L-R-L and use 3 pitchers for 3 hitters, so the bullpens remain full longer into games.

There are no minor league games to play so top pitching prospects, at least the ones closest to the majors, are ending up in big league bullpens instead of in AA and AAA rotations.
   8. Itchy Row Posted: August 11, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5969051)
I think we could throw disappearing fastballs in Baseball Stars on Nintendo in about 1990. What it meant for baseball's future then: steroids.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
1k5v3L
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogCarlos Correa addresses Astros haters after sweeping Twins: 'What are they going to say now?'
(9 - 8:15am, Oct 01)
Last: Fiore Gino

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(9795 - 8:12am, Oct 01)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogBill James: A Galaxy of Royal Stars
(21 - 8:12am, Oct 01)
Last: Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight

NewsblogYouTube TV is losing Fox regional sports networks
(7 - 7:37am, Oct 01)
Last: Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert

NewsblogMinnesota Twins eliminated by Houston Astros as postseason losing streak hits 18 games
(1 - 1:56am, Oct 01)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogAs Marlins prepare for postseason, is the franchise turning a corner under Derek Jeter?
(9 - 1:31am, Oct 01)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogWild Card Round Day Two OMNICHATTER (9/30/20)
(222 - 1:16am, Oct 01)
Last: Walks Clog Up the Bases

NewsblogAnaheim City Council approves $150-million cash stadium sale to Angels owner
(12 - 11:54pm, Sep 30)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogMLB allowing limited number of fans for NLCS, World Series in Arlington, Texas
(1 - 11:47pm, Sep 30)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOT - NBA Bubble Thread
(3273 - 11:44pm, Sep 30)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogRemoving Fans Didn’t Remove MLB’s Home-Field Advantage
(6 - 11:31pm, Sep 30)
Last: cardsfanboy

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1932 Discussion
(3 - 5:17pm, Sep 30)
Last: DL from MN

Gonfalon CubsCubs Postseason Thoughts
(2 - 4:41pm, Sep 30)
Last: Walks Clog Up the Bases

NewsblogRays top-ten prospect Shane McClanahan added to postseason roster
(21 - 4:19pm, Sep 30)
Last: The importance of being Ernest Riles

NewsblogRon Roenicke let go as Boston Red Sox manager; team will begin search immediately
(45 - 3:29pm, Sep 30)
Last: Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew

Page rendered in 0.3064 seconds
69 querie(s) executed