{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Data show Verlander's velocity still going strong

Data show Verlander's velocity still going strong

|
Data show Verlander's velocity still going strong

KANSAS CITY -- Justin Verlander and Jim Leyland can disagree on his strategy of pitching, as they clearly did Saturday night. One thing they can agree on is that his velocity is no longer the question behind his struggles.

Realistically, it hasn't been for a while. On Saturday, it clearly wasn't.

Verlander's fastball Saturday averaged just under 96 mph, according to data from MLB.com Gameday and brooksbaseball.net. It was his best velocity of the year. His command of it, on the other hand, was not.

There's a stronger correlation between Verlander's fastball strike rate and his success this year than his velocity. When he has pitched at his best, he has usually thrown strikes with close to 70 percent of his fastballs. On Saturday, he threw 28 of his 44 fastballs for strikes. That amounts to a 63.64 percent rate, or the exact same rate of strikes he threw with his changeup.

His hardest pitches ranged around that 32-pitch fourth inning, when he loaded the bases twice and walked in a run.

To suggest he isn't throwing as hard as he used to seems to be an old argument now. Whether he can actually command it the same way when he throws hard now, or anywhere close, is another matter. If he's throwing his pitches carefully, as Leyland suggested Saturday, that's another matter.

"I mean, I'm not concerned about his fastball. He's throwing hard," catcher Alex Avila said Saturday night. "When he's throwing it there and he has good command of it, they're not taking good swings. And when they do, they're not hitting it hard. They haven't really been taking good swings off his fastball. It's just making sure you can not only get ahead of guys, but finishing them with the same release point."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español