year to year velocity progression

All,

I would love to hear how your sons' velocity progressed through high school and beyond. Particularly interested in hearing from those with college-age pitchers. If you saw a significant increase from on year to the next, what was it attributed to?
Original Post
Summer before 10th grade: 81
Summer before 11th grade: 86
Summer before 12th grade: 92

These were maximum effort velocities. I expect by next spring (the start of his first collegiate season) he will be sitting comfortably at 87-90 and perhaps occasionally hitting a high of 92+.

I attribute these numbers and the increases year over year to (1) physical growth; (2) coaching and refined mechanics; (3) natural ability; and, arguably, (4) lots of long toss; and (5) lots of innings pitched versus good competition.
Bum, Jr. is a LHP..

H.S. Soph: top 79, cruise 75-77
H.S. Junior: top 88, cruise 85-86 (yep, big jump)
H.S. Senior: top 89, cruise 86-88
Coll Frosh: top 90, cruise 87-89
Coll Soph: top 91, cruise 88-90
Coll Jr.: top 92, cruise 88-90
Now (single-A), top 92, cruise 88-91
Don't know if many other than us would be interested, but we have many thousands cases in our data base. We actually have a chart that breaks down averages in just about everything.

It shows different categories of players, ie. Top 100 ranked, top 5 round draft picks, Top 500 ranked, DI commits, overall average of everyone, etc.

It includes info for velocity, different pitches, 60 yard dash, pop times, velocities from every position, hitting grades, power grades, fielding grades, H-1 times, PG Grades, and more. It can even break down by height weight or even by state or region or include everyone.

For example it would show RHP or LHP peak velocity averages for freshman, soph, Jr, and seniors for each category.

Example, Average peak velocity of all Jr RHP that were eventually ranked top 100 was 89... average as a senior was 92. In pitchers drafted in the first rd, the average was 94, but still 89 as a junior.

So based on the data we have (thousands of pitchers) you could say the average velocity gain between jr and sr year is 3 MPH.

Problem is the averages mean very little to an individual. First rounders averaged 5 mph increase.

I doubt if anyone has a database of player information this large. So the numbers actually do mean something to us. Not sure if they would mean that much to anyone else.
quote:
Originally posted by PGStaff:
Don't know if many other than us would be interested, but we have many thousands cases in our data base. We actually have a chart that breaks down averages in just about everything.

It shows different categories of players, ie. Top 100 ranked, top 5 round draft picks, Top 500 ranked, DI commits, overall average of everyone, etc.

It includes info for velocity, different pitches, 60 yard dash, pop times, velocities from every position, hitting grades, power grades, fielding grades, H-1 times, PG Grades, and more. It can even break down by height weight or even by state or region or include everyone.

For example it would show RHP or LHP peak velocity averages for freshman, soph, Jr, and seniors for each category.

Example, Average peak velocity of all Jr RHP that were eventually ranked top 100 was 89... average as a senior was 92. In pitchers drafted in the first rd, the average was 94, but still 89 as a junior.

So based on the data we have (thousands of pitchers) you could say the average velocity gain between jr and sr year is 3 MPH.

Problem is the averages mean very little to an individual. First rounders averaged 5 mph increase.

I doubt if anyone has a database of player information this large. So the numbers actually do mean something to us. Not sure if they would mean that much to anyone else.


This is awesome data. Thanks for sharing!
What are we talking about?

How many of the parents of pitchers out there have players that are going to be top draft choices? Very few, if any. I'd bet zero or one, maybe two.

So the rest of you who are interested in velocity progression, beware of extrapolating the data and thinking your son is going to be throwing 93, 94+ and be a top-round draft choice. Chances are, his career will be over after high school. If he's talented, he'll get into a top college.

If he's especially talented, pro.

Back when, I did a study of velocity, also commented on by PG. I was, like many of you immersed in the data, trying to figure out whether Bum, Jr. had a chance.

He had a chance only because he worked his a** off.

The truth is, 99% of those that threw harder than my son in h.s. have been out of baseball for years. 1% threw softer and now throw harder.

Don't project, just do. Work at it and if it is meant to be it will happen.
quote:
Originally posted by Bum:
So the rest of you who are interested in velocity progression, beware of extrapolating the data and thinking your son is going to be throwing 93, 94+


This was the key for us. Where will Little Johnny end up?

He may stop at 85, 88, 90, or 95. You don't know, and it affects how you approach recruiting, and showcasing.

If you're a soph and throwing 85, you may get some interest from big schools. But, if you don't progress, you will never hear from them again.

Nobody can give you an honest appraisal of your kid at that point. Nobody knows what will happen.
It might be a good idea to get an opinion from someone knowledgable regarding mechanics, arm action, arm speed and other things that relate to projection.

There can be a big difference between two 16 year olds who both throw 79-80 mph.

No one knows for certain what will happen in the future. So much depends on effort and desire. However, there are several "clues" that provide for a more educated guess.

The first time I ever saw "Bums" son pitch, I knew he was going to gain velocity if he really wanted to. also I was pretty sure he wanted to. Therefore I liked him more than many pitchers who threw harder at that time. It was because of all the other things rather than lighting up the gun at that time. That would come later.
PGStaff - In your comment above, I believe you touched on an area that needs to be emphasized to a few. I felt it was worth pointing out.

quote:
Originally posted by PGStaff:
It was because of all the other things rather than...


You don't always get what you wish for, you get what you work for.
quote:
So the rest of you who are interested in velocity progression, beware of extrapolating the data and thinking your son is going to be throwing 93, 94+ and be a top-round draft choice. Chances are, his career will be over after high school. If he's talented, he'll get into a top college.

If he's especially talented, pro.

Back when, I did a study of velocity, also commented on by PG. I was, like many of you immersed in the data, trying to figure out whether Bum, Jr. had a chance.

He had a chance only because he worked his a** off.

The truth is, 99% of those that threw harder than my son in h.s. have been out of baseball for years. 1% threw softer and now throw harder.

Don't project, just do. Work at it and if it is meant to be it will happen.


It's really hard to project as each young player is unique. Son is approaching 6' as a freshman. How much more can he grow, don't know. He is approaching 80mph or may be over, how much faster can he go, don't know. All I tell him is to work hard and do the right things, if it happens it happens. If not, get a good GPA and go to a good school. Beyond that, it's a God given talent.
All of my sons are baseball pitchers. I am on the third and last son. Zach will turn 16 in late January. He can throw 86-87 mph, but he consistently stays at 85 mph. He is hoping to pass the 90 mph mark during his sophomore season. I agree with the guy that said once you reach 80 mph it gets more difficult. One important thing, velocity is important, but having a good off-speed is just as important.
This is a very interesting discussion but, as Bum's very cogent discussion implies (to me at least), one can't reliably infer from Perfect Game's spectacular database what any given individual will be able to do.

For me, one of the most useful and practical questions that Perfect Game data can answer is: Given the wide range of program levels within, say, D-1 category (i.e., ~300 colleges/universities are listed as NCAA D-1 baseball programs) what are their average expectations of some measurable performance level for High School-aged prospects?

For HS-aged pitchers who participate in a PG event, their database pretty reliably gives a radar-measured peak FB speed. Sometimes there is anecdotal information or some quantitative data about other pitches, but majority of the time it's just top FB velocity.

How can one use this data in a meaningful way? Here is one example: I was interested to know the average FB speed in High School of RHP prospects who eventually made it on to a WCC conference roster in 2012. A different way of stating this is: I was interested to know what type of performance level WCC coaches expected, on average, from their HS RHP prospects.

To answer this specific question, one needs to go to the roster page of each individual WCC school and make a list of all the 2012 RHPs on those rosters. Then, cross-check the list against PG database by searching each individual name at the PG website.

Without question the exercise is tedious but if you really want to know what the average expectations of coaches are for recruiting HS players into their conference I think that approach gives about as realistic an answer as possible:

HS-aged RHPs who eventually found their way onto a WCC roster in 2012 threw the fastball during high school with vel = 86.5 +/- 3.5 mph. Thus, about 70% (1 std. dev.)of these eventual WCC-level RHPs were in the range 83 - 90 mph when they were measured by PG during their High School years. Another 15% of them were higher than 90 mph, and yet another 15 % of them were lower than 83 mph when the measurements were taken.

For LHPs who eventually appeared on a 2012 WCC roster, the average HS velocity was lower, as one might expect: 84 +/- 4 mph.

One can perform this analysis for any single school, or any conference, as long as there is sufficient data for in the PG database; however, there is a caveat: Very weak programs generally have many fewer pitchers with PG data available, strong programs seem to be stacked with more players who do have PG data...it seems natural that strong players would not only be more active in showcasing themselves but would also of course tend to populate the stronger college programs. So the analysis is much higher quality for the upper 2/3 of the ~300 D-1 college programs.

Another example: The data for Pac-12 conference, which obviously includes many nationally high-ranked programs, shows that the average expectation for a High School-aged RHP fastball was 88.7 +/- 4 mph, a range of 84.5 - 93 mph for the 1 std dev group.

None of this data-crunching pretends to tell any individual how he is likely to progress in HS or beyond. As Bum implied, that depends on factors that are impossible to measure with a radar gun. However, perhaps what it can do, with the best quantitative information available, is guide a High School-aged individual toward setting realistic goals based on the evidence for coaches' average expectations at the various levels of college baseball.
laflippin,

Outstanding work. We actually have ways to eliminate much of the work you did because we have the database to work off of. However, what a great idea you have. We know there is a lot more information we can pump out of the database.

You are exactly right about all these statistics. Nothing ever pertains to what an individual might be capable of. I often get asked what the average is for high school. Even if someone knew that, would it make any difference? To me it is more important to know what the average is to be drafted, first round pick, individual conference or college, etc. There are many above average hs players that never get any college interest. So average tells me nothing.

Players need to strive to be as good as possible. No chart can dictate what any individual is capable of.
quote:
All of my sons are baseball pitchers. I am on the third and last son. Zach will turn 16 in late January. He can throw 86-87 mph, but he consistently stays at 85 mph. He is hoping to pass the 90 mph mark during his sophomore season. I agree with the guy that said once you reach 80 mph it gets more difficult. One important thing, velocity is important, but having a good off-speed is just as important.


Sounds like my son as well, he has the same goal but I told him he has to work his butt off at the minimum, the rest is God given. Nothing wrong with a lofty goal by a kid, I am there to give him some doses of reality.
Thank you for the nice kudos, PGStaff, I am a big fan of what Perfect Game does.

Am also generally aware that PG has very sophisticated proprietary analytical tools that you can apply to your extensive database that make life much, much simpler...but, not having access to those tools I do the best I can with the public data and a hand-held calculator.

I have no complaints, though, it is really stimulating to consider important questions that seem to come up over and over again and then try to craft an approach to some possible answers.

Basically, most people with clear goals in mind are just looking to build a road-map that can give them reasonable pathways for getting to where they want to go and a basis for estimating how realistic their goals might be.

Keep up the great work--if you have any openings at PG shoot me a PM!
I will be plain about my observations:

Average h.s. fastball: 78.
Average h.s. RHP: 80
Average h.s. LHP: 75
Average D1 RHP: 88
Average D1 LHP: 86
Average drafted h.s. RHP: 90
Average drafted h.s. LHP: 88

Average scout that cares: 0

There is so much much to pitching besides velocity. Don't get me wrong, without it, you're not invited.

Velocity. Tenacity. Talent (the art of pitching). These are the three most important predictors of where a player will end up.
Bum,

There is something of a contradiction in saying, "average scout that cares [about velo] = 0" followed by, "Don't get me wrong, without it [velo] you're not invited".

It would be more accurate to say, "Every scout fundamentally cares about velocity". Yes, tenacity talent, heart....many factors that can't be measured by radar...are deeply important. Probably that is why so many mistakes are made---heart, character, and willpower don't show up on radar at all.

Although it may no longer be of interest to you (and, actually, my interests are starting to move on now, too--my son just signed his letter of intent this morning)....but, anyway, if you think carefully about how to use PG data it can be helpful to lots of HS'ers who are coming up behind your son and my son.

Thus, it's not about "ave HS RHP velocity". For HS guys who currently wonder where they might fit in at the next level it's about: "what is the ave. HS velocity of RHPs who were eventually recruited by school X, Y, or Z?"

I very much doubt that the ave D1 RHP velocity, that is, averaged over all 300 D-1 programs, is 88 mph. In fact, no matter what the actual average is, that is not the important number...from top to bottom of the entire spectrum of D-1 programs the RHP velocity varies a great deal. At the highest end of the D-1 spectrum average RHP velo is higher than 88 mph and grades probably don't matter quite so much. At the lowest end of the D-1 spectrum, average RHP velo is down around mid-80s and grades matter more than athletic talent.

Again, you can dismiss all of this if you like, but for those HS guys who are still trying to figure out where they have the best chance of fitting in at college level, it's too vague to say, "without velo you're not invited". There's a "right place" for most if they really want it. There's no line in the sand, it's all about finding the best match between program level and individual athlete.

In fact, you said it yourself...velocity is one of your three most important predictors of where a player will wind up, so individual players should use that number as part of their road-map to know as clearly as possible what sort of future is realistically open to them.
Velocity is the ultimate predictor of where a player will end up.

My point about scouts is not that that they don't care about velocity -- you bet they do -- they just don't care about all these averages. They care about the velocity of the kid in front of him. Does he have it or not? If he has it, the gun stays up, if he doesn't the gun goes down.
Yes, I think in most ways we're in complete agreement, Bum, but maybe we are focused on different sides of the scout/prospect equation. As you say, scouts need to be concerned with the actual performance level of the prospects in front of them.

There is always an implicit comparison being made by experienced scouts: The prospect in front of me vs. the average performance expectation at this prospect's level. Smart, experienced baseball people can readily match up a prospect's ability with the average expectations at that level...I think that works pretty well. Mistakes are sometimes made with the intangibles...character, heart, etc....but performance can be accurately judged by experienced coaches/scouts....there's little doubt about that.

The biggest problems in matching personal ability with realistic baseball level doesn't come from scouts and college coaches, it probably occurs mostly on the side of the less-experienced HS-aged players and/or their parents. On that side of the equation, accurate quantitative data can be helpful for putting things in context and setting realistic personal goals.

What's cool about Perfect Game data: It's very extensive, objective, and very accurate....so it tends to shed higher quality light on some baseball truths that are often discussed in very fuzzy ways by highly opinionated folks with questionable experience...(this is a mild jab at the internet in general, not at any specific persons...and it's certainly not a jab at Bum, whose baseball insights I've appreciated for years).

As an extreme example, if the average velocity in High School is 91.5 mph for the RHPs that eventually showed up on UCLA's 2012 roster (it actually is!), then you may want to reconsider your chances to realistically pitch for the Bruins if your velocity as a HS junior is topping out at 85 mph. Even if mom & dad are UCLA alums, your grades are outstanding, baseball is your life, and UCLA is your dream....you should probably re-think all of that stuff if you top out at 85 mph as a HS junior. The numbers do reveal pretty clearly and specifically what UCLA's program expects from its High School prospects.

That may seem way too obvious of an example to people with loads of baseball experience...but, it's only part of an important point:

Even if he is not projected to pitch for UCLA, for example, there are still lots and lots of places in the D-1 spectrum where some HS kid topping at 85 mph in his junior year would be projected to have a completely legitimate chance to play, if he wants to. Perfect Game data, when it is properly used, can help HS prospects and their families find some of the less-than-obvious answers, too.
Thanks, Bum---and right back at you. It's been very inspiring to watch your boy's progress through your eyes/words on this forum over the years.

By the way,I've got a personal OT question...why did you dump the old grizzled cigar-chewing dog avatar in favor of the current Devo "Are We Not Men?" style avatar?
laflippin, thank you for your insightful response.
Often times these questions are answered with short quips. You took the time to crunch the numbers and provide them for all athletes and parent to see where they truly stack up. That is greatly appreciated!

TCockman, welcome.

 

You're going to get several responses telling you not to worry about velocity at such a young age. At 10 years old, building sound mechanics are vastly more important than velo. Don't sweat the fastball...yet.

 

Having said that, I was one of the nutjobs who had a gun on his kid at 9 years old. (I would tell people that I was only looking to gauge changeup differential, but they knew better). I wish we had spent less time throwing to that damn gun and more time working on mechanics.

 

Now, to your question...we're several years removed from the 10-11 days, but I would guess that 55 MPH or so would be average for an 11 year old, with the harder throwers touching 60+. At 12, maybe 60 MPH average and 65+ for the elite. I'm guessing, and these number will vary wildly based on what part of the country you survey.

 

Tribe thanks for the response and I agree mechanics, location & practice are the focus.  His travel coach is a former D1 4 yr starting pitcher so he is getting solid instruction on a weekly basis.  He has only brought the gun out twice in the past 1 1/2 yr to gauge where the boys are at.  By no means am I trying to get in my sons head about his velocity.  This question was purely to satisfy my own curiosity from those of you who have been where I'm at now.  I know there is no formula, or definitive answers, I was more looking for a baseline of where your sons were at in 5th-6th grade level.

My 12U RHP in 6th grade is pitching 69 last night at practice (5'9" 134Lbs.)he is a premier player on a travel team - last October when he was 11 he was hitting 65 and constant at 64. Last August he was hitting 63 for tryouts and constant at 61. He grew from 5'3 to 5'8 during the last year. Now my other son at 13yrs RHP in 8th grade during his team's world series event was constant at 73 - when he made his highschool basbeall team at 14 yrs. he was hitting a constant at 76 - he just did tryouts for showcase teams and was clocked at 84 with a constant of 82. he also grew about 10 inches from 13 -15. (6'2" 148 lbs. and a sophomore in high school - a very young sophomore)maybe this will help?

 

 I agree with what was written above, it is of no importance what speed a 9-10 yr.old is pitching - if they do not have good mechanics their arm will be useless by the time they are 13 and most likely 12, there are 4 boys that we play with that are getting physical therapy on their elbows this spring because of poor throwing mechanics, two of them are getting B-12 and saline injections into their ucl to help the inflamation and pain. Best prevention is a good instructor, the speed will come and in the words of an ex-pro instructor when asked if there was anything we could do to get more velocity - you can't do anythin,  the maximum velocity was given to you when god made you - when it comes out it comes out.

Originally Posted by TCockman#7:

Tribe thanks for the response and I agree mechanics, location & practice are the focus.  His travel coach is a former D1 4 yr starting pitcher so he is getting solid instruction on a weekly basis.  He has only brought the gun out twice in the past 1 1/2 yr to gauge where the boys are at.  By no means am I trying to get in my sons head about his velocity.  This question was purely to satisfy my own curiosity from those of you who have been where I'm at now.  I know there is no formula, or definitive answers, I was more looking for a baseline of where your sons were at in 5th-6th grade level.

I can't even remember because it's not important. bb-Dad has said it best, this is a god given talent and nothing you can do can top that, other than provide good instruction and make sure that you do all the things for a young pitcher that you can control (mainly overuse) so when it really matters he will be healthy.

Gun readings at 9 or 10 years old don't really mean anything. Then again it would be nice information to have. I don't think much of that type data exists.  I know I've never used a radar gun for kids that age.

 

The thing that would be most interesting is those that have become MLB pitchers.  If they were pitching at 9 or 10, it would be interesting to know what their velocity was. Who knows, maybe that information could somehow prove valuable. Of course, the problem is, I'm guessing here, that not very many, if any, of those MLB pitchers were ever throwing to a gun when they were that age. But a good arm is a good arm, some just improve a lot more than others.

 

We have seen low 80s turn into mid 90s between sophomore and senior year. My guess is that normally the hardest throwing kid at 9 years old is far from the hardest thrower at 18 years old. But I don't know that for absolutely sure!

Yes, I too feel it would be interesting to know of those who have become MLB pitchers what their velocities were when they were at 9 to 12 years old.  Somehow, I get the feeling that there's not much correlation with high velocities at that younger age.

 

I remember when my son was in LL Majors and was throwing at 65 mph+ and watching the LLWS pitchers pitching 70 mph+ and thinking that my son was about or maybe a little above average for a 12 yr. old.  In his HS Sophomore year he was touching 90 and sitting around sitting at 87-89.  His Senior year he touched 93 and sitting around 90-91. Drafted out of HS as a pitcher but decided to go to school and in his Freshman college year he touched 94, but decided he's rather play a position than pitch and so he has.

Generally speaking, 9-10 year olds who have good mechanics and throw hard translates directly into good mechanics and high velocity later on. All of thehard throwing kids who also flashed decent mechanics in our LL from years ago all developed into the best and hardest throwing kids in hs and college. There is a definate connection with good mechanics and velocity at a young age developing into the same thing years later.

Young HS Freshman 14U 5'11" 165lbs Lefty

I have never clocked him and I am not aware of anyone on his travel team clocking him (with the exception of LY tryouts and I don't know what they saw but they picked him up).  He doesn't seem to be very fast. A friend of ours told him he thinks he is pitching 65 to 70.  Coaches have asked him to throw harder and he speeds it up when he needs to. 

He throws strikes and locates well. He was used more than any other pitcher on his team last year. He is a starter and they will often put him in if a pitcher is in trouble. His high school coach complimented him and told him he is one of the few young pitchers who can throw strikes. He wins games.  I know velocity will matter soon.  He is still growing and I believe this will come.

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