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What is the average pitching speed in MLB?

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2014-04-23 18:57:17
2014-04-23 18:57:17

Let's start by stating the obvious, that velocity is not usually recorded as a statistic, or on a pitch chart by a pitchers coach. Therefore, there is no real record logged of pitch speed for each pitch. With no speeds recorded, we can't get an exact answer to the average speed of pitches in Major League Baseball.

Secondly, pitchers throw a variety of pitches, each that usually fall in a range of velocity for that type of pitch. Fastballs, obviously are faster, and *most* pitchers zoom them by batters anywhere from 88-97 MPH consistently.

Different factors play a part. Older pitchers (with some exceptions) generally have learned to be a crafty pitcher, and less of a flamethrower. Some exceptions are Roger Clemens of the Houston Astros, who at the ripe age of 43, still manages to pump his fastball into the mid-to-upper 90's. Other fastballers have taken a little off, and work the movement of the pitch. Greg Maddux of the Chicago Cubs, throws a 2-seam fastball that moves slightly sideways and down, but is just as effective at speeds of 87-92 MPH.

Curve balls are obviously slower, as their trajectory and grip are different. Look for these to fall in the 74-88 range. Bert Blyleven had a nasty curve in his pitching days in Minnesota and through his career.

Sliders can generally fall in the 84-91 MPH range.

Change-ups are designed to be slower, but use the same arm speed. It relies on friction from the hand and fingers to slow the ball down as it is released, in hopes of catching a batter off-guard and upset his balance and timing. Change-ups can be anywhere from 60-80 MPH.

Finally, there's the knuckleball. The result is anyone's guess. Even the pitcher who throws it isn't sure what the ball is going to do. It might shift from left to right. It might tumble downward. It might do both. It might do nothing. It can be thrown with speeds anywhere of 55-75 MPH.

So, the answer to the question is, no one knows exactly! Until MLB keeps records of pitch velocities and can exact a science of recording speeds accurately, then they probably won't. Radar guns are prone to report different speeds on the same thing.

An interesting side note, Guinness Book of World Records credits Houston Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan with the fastest pitch ever, a 100.9-mph heater from 1974 against the White Sox.

Major League Scouts consider 90 mph an average major league fast ball. 95 mph is considered a plus fastball velocity, and +97-98 mph a plus, plus velocity.

the 90 range is a good speed for an mlb pitcher. some pitchers do pitch in the high 80s though. real good pitchers pitch 100mph too

Randy Johnson threw a 103 mph fastball.

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