Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Yordano Ventura: MLB’s newest velocity revalation


Ventura has some serious heat.  Poto Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ventura has some serious heat. Poto Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I present to you without further ado Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura‘s Pitch F/X stats from last night’s MLB debut start.

According to Pitch F/X, he threw 45 fastballs on the night with an AVERAGE velocity of 99.5mph, peaking at an absurd 102.9mph on one of the final pitches he threw as he finished off 6 shutout innings against the Rays.  He’s 5’11” and 180 soaking wet.

Lest you think he only has one pitch, he has a sick 89mph change with circle action (i.e., coming back in against righties); he threw 19 of them last night and 13 of those 19 change ups were “SNIPs,” or “Strikes not in play.”  In other words … exactly what a pitcher wants.   He only gave up one ball-in-play on his changeup the entire night.  He also featured a curve that has somewhere in the 16mph range difference from his fastballs (by way of comparison, everyone raves about guys like Strasburg and Kershaw‘s fb-curve deltas, as I talked about in this post from last year, and Ventura is right up there).   He threw a 4th pitch (a cutter in the 96-98mph range) but its awfully hard to tell if it had much action on it, or which pitches Pitch F/X thought were cutters versus just him taking a couple MPH off his fastball.

Fun to watch, absolutely.  Lets hope he’s not a TJ-surgery in waiting.

Written by Todd Boss

April 9th, 2014 at 9:17 am

8 Responses to 'Yordano Ventura: MLB’s newest velocity revalation'

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  1. Todd Boss

    9 Apr 14 at 12:58 pm

  2. That is amazing, I’ll have to track down some footage of the game. Is that a record for avg FB velocity (for a starter)?

    But the sad thing is, none of us can help that feeling you had at the end. I wonder if the stats support that the high velo pitchers are more susceptible to blowing out than others, or we just notice the guys who hit 100 mph more, so when they do, we pay more attention. But it does seem like we are bumping up against physical limitations.


    9 Apr 14 at 2:25 pm

  3. Great question; highest average velocity in a game for a starter who went more than X innings/pitchers. I have no idea how you’d find that out. Here’s some interesting links though:
    6/8/2010: Strasburg’s mlb debut. 51 fastballs with an average velocity of 98.3 and a max of 100.4. Wow.
    – I was trying to think of other real-hard throwing starters to search on. League leader in avg FB velocity last year was Matt Harvey; here’s his pitch f/x data from a 12-k game in May. Avg 96.7, peak of 99.3. That’s not nearly as impressiev as what we just saw out of Ventura.
    – I wrote this post about Aroldis Chapman back in Sept 2010 about his amazing velocity and had a bunch of links to pitch f/x data.

    I dunno; who else out there sits 100 these days?

    Todd Boss

    9 Apr 14 at 3:41 pm

  4. I am not aware of any starters that regularly hit 100. Maybe Verlander going back 5 years or so? Randy Johnson in his prime?

    I think this highlights why Stras is so good. He has (or had) that kind of velo, but I think his secondary pitches are better than his FB. I didn’t research his pitch value, but it has that feel to me.


    9 Apr 14 at 5:52 pm

  5. For Forensicane, in case he missed it. Billy Burns scored from 2b on a sac fly to center. Seems like a fun guy to watch.


    10 Apr 14 at 8:36 am

  6. Fangraphs has this awesome link that has “pitch values” that attempt to measure just how good a pitcher’s individula offerings are. Strasburg’s 2013 numbers among qualified starters: 23rd in fastball effectiveness, #3 changeup, #9 curveball. So yeah, he’s definitely got good secondary pitches.

    And the thing of it is, if you look at his performance in 2012 .. he’s improving. Adjusting the fangraphs link for 150IP or more, Strasburg was ranked worse in all three categories.

    Todd Boss

    10 Apr 14 at 9:10 am

  7. This was probably more impressive than Hamilton’s scoring on a pop-up to shallow RF the other day.

    Todd Boss

    10 Apr 14 at 9:10 am

  8. I can’t figure where all this speed is coming from. It was just a few years ago that the Nat’s had the highest average velocity among starters in all of baseball. Not sure if this is still true, but most teams appear to have a coupla 95 starters, with many with one or more mid to upper 90s guys in the pen.


    11 Apr 14 at 10:30 am

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