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Thursday, December 24, 2020

What Happens the Year After a Velocity Spike?

How did our group of velocity gainers do the year after its big increases? The guys who threw in three straight years were indistinguishable from the pack. More specifically, they lost 0.32 mph on average. That’s statistically indistinguishable from the larger group’s performance, which is a great sign for those pitchers. That means that a velocity bump doesn’t automatically fade away the next year, which I feared might happen.

That leads me to the question I was pondering all along: what happens to pitchers the year after they see a velo pop? I looked at the same changes — pitch value per 100 pitches, strikeout rate, and walk rate — to see whether pitchers held their gains in subsequent years.

Conveniently enough for the narrative you no doubt had in your head, it seems that pitchers mostly held their gains. We’re looking at minuscule sample sizes at this point — only 16 pitchers worth of data — but there’s almost nothing to speak of. Fastball pitch values were essentially unchanged. Strikeout rate ticked up ever so slightly, by less than one percentage point. Walk rate also went up, though by even less — roughly 0.2 percentage points. In other words, what you saw when their velocity ticked up is mostly what you got the next year.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2020 at 09:53 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: velocity

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 24, 2020 at 05:27 PM (#5995880)
You always need to be careful in this sort of research. The sample of gainers appears to be 23 pitchers; the sample of guys with enough pitches the next year to look for a change is down to 16. The author acknowledges the small sample size but the issue is the attrition. What happened to those other 7 pitchers? If raising your velocity between year1 and year 2 leads to greater likelihood of missed time in year 3 then that needs to be incorporated into the model. It might be unrelated but we shouldn't just assume that.

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