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My son's D3 team played a non-conference game this week against a strong D2 team that has 5 pitchers who throw in the 90s.

We saw 3 of those 5 pitch in this game (I think they were using it as a warmup for upcoming playoffs and two of them only took the mound for one inning each). They could all throw hard and throw strikes, and I think each had two off-speed or breaking pitches (curve, change-up).

Sometimes I get the impression from this and other websites that 90+ pitchers are a dime a dozen these days, and this game got me thinking about it again. The coach in this article said five 90+ guys on one staff is unusual, but are there several 90+ pitchers at every D2 or higher program in the country? Or at least at every D1?

And what are those pitchers' chances of getting drafted after their junior or senior years? If a college pitcher is 6'3" to 6'4" or above, can throw 90+, can throw strikes with some reliability and has a couple other pitches, is he just about guaranteed that some team will take him in the draft and give him a chance? Would the answer be different if the pitcher was only 6'0" to 6'1"?
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I know 3 kids whom all cross the 90 mark at times. Two are seniors and one a sophomore. All have been gunned and the sophomore just had TJ surgery. Just because you can hit 90 and you are 6' 3" in HS doesn't mean you are a top dog by any means. What they are looking for is a guy who can pitch. If you don't know what that means, i'll let Trhit explain it to you.
This topic is kind of slipping into another one of those "Everyone can throw 90+ and it's no big deal."

I agree with all that say "pitching" in the 90s is different than "throwing" in the 90s.

Just as a point of reference...

We see more amateur baseball players than any organization including professional baseball and college. We have written reports on around 4,000 high school age players and hundreds of college players this year alone.

While "throwing" 90 is not pitching 90... "Throwing" 90 or better is not a common thing. In fact, it is quite a gift that most players will never experience.

Without compiling all the data we have stored, I'd guess we see close to 300 high school pitchers each year “topping” out at 90mph or better. On the average this would equate to 4 or 5 in each state. However, states like Texas, Florida and California have many more 90 + arms. Several states have zero high school players with 90+ arms. We probably see less than 50 high school pitchers each year with good secondary pitches and command, who are capable of staying in the 90s consistently for any length of time. These are normally your higher draft picks.

And yes, there is the size issue, but things seem to be changing a little bit regarding that. For pitchers, tall is still more desirable than short to most MLB clubs. It’s another topic, but my personal reason for liking size is not because of injury concerns. I just think the taller a pitcher is, the better downward angle he can create to the plate. Pitching is all about angles! That said, there’s a ton of tall pitchers, so it’s what professional hitters see a lot of. This can give the advantage to the smaller pitcher that they don’t see as often. There’s some not so tall pitchers doing real well in the Big Leagues.

Some of the top amateur programs in the country, ie NorCal, Midland, Ohio Warhawks, Florida Bombers, East Cobb, Houston Heat, are loaded with 90 mph pitchers. Houston Heat had about 6 or 7 of them in winning last year’s PG/BA WWBA Championship. However, this is far from the norm, as many quality teams are lucky to have even one or two 90 mph pitchers. Some have none!

The only reason I bring this up is so that young players don't get discouraged because they hear everyone is throwing 90 mph. That is far from the truth!

Lastly, throwing a baseball 90 mph, even one time, is very special. It doesn't mean an automatic draft pick or even a college scholarship. Throwing 90 by itself is not enough, we all know. It does mean those who can do it have a real good arm that more than 99% of the rest of the players don't possess.

Just as an example… There are colleges who have an abundance of 90+ mph pitchers. Often they are the top programs. Most good DI programs will have at least 1 or 2 pitchers who can throw 90. On a typical college team you’ll see maybe 8 to 10 pitchers who get the bulk of the innings. At places like Georgia Tech, Stanford, Rice, etc. you might see most all of them who are capable of 90+. Other top programs like Miami have been very successful with a combination of 90+ guys and good deceptive pitchers who throw mid 80s at best. The SEC, ACC, Pac10, Big 12, will have a lot of 90+ arms. Other conferences will have a lot less 90+ arms. Point is… there’s a lot of room for those who don’t throw 90 mph!

Also, I can’t tell you how often we get reports on pitchers who are throwing 90. Sometimes it’s true, but often when we go to see… The 92 mph pitcher is throwing 86-87. Sometimes we see the reported 92 mph pitcher topping out at 82 mph. This happened just recently with a kid from the Midwest.

Bottom line (finally)

Always work to improve the fastball. It’s the key pitch! If you work hard enough and have the natural ability to throw 90 or better… you probably will. But for most… It doesn’t make any difference how hard you work… You’re not going to throw 90 or better. The kicker is… No one knows for sure which category a young pitcher falls in or exactly when or if it might happen. Just know that there’s a lot of room out there for quality pitching and they don’t all throw 90+!

For those that took the time to read these opinions... Thank you.
I really appreciate the kind words.

I often get long winded because of trying to be clear as possible.

Just like most people on here I have a desire to help others interested in baseball. I don’t know everything, but I do know a lot and have no problem in sharing.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading the stuff. Kind of a waste of time and the precious few brain cells left, if no one really cares.

Anyway, thanks
PG, my impression is that there are many, many readers of this forum who follow your posts very closely because of the educational, credible, and helpful insights you provide in such a professional yet personable manner. You have a unique wealth of information to share. Many of us probably don't often tell you that because . . . well, we think you know already - after all, you're PG! Smile Along with a handful of others (such as head cook and bottle washer Bob H., Fungo, bbscout, Cap'n though he hasn't been here for a long time, and a few other personal favorites of mine), you are one of the true gems of this forum.
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During our 2000 Goodwill Series game at Blair Field in Long Beach, California, Mike Jones after 5 innings of near perfect pitching approached Luis Medina, our American Team coach and said "I need to come out of the game". Louie said "is your arm sore".

No, Mike stated, "my head is sore". Mike had been throwing 97 mph without any effort, however the Japan National High School Team, fresh from their National tournament viewed by 40 million on TV was able to "foul off" Mike's best pitches and forced him to concentrate to a small strike zone.

In this game on the American Team was Scott Kazmir, Delmon Young [Tampa Bay] and Sergio Santos [Brewers].

The moral of this story - is speed is not enough, a pitcher needs a "breaking ball" and "change up"to succeed.

In 2006, we will again host the Japan National Team in Goodwill Series XV.
Team. We are now beginning the search for 18 players who can play like Delmon, Mike, Sergio and Scott.

Bob Williams
That was a great answer to MN-Mom's post. I do hope that many get a chance to read it. You are absolutely correct, the fastball is the key pitch.

There are many pitchers out there that throw 90+, well over 6 feet and it is not always a sure bet they will get drafted. It is a lot more complicated than that.
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It would take too long to check all the pitchers. Maybe this will help of the 100+ pitchers who touched 90 mph at the World Championship last fall, 11 were lefties.

You know, off the top of my head, I'm not sure I can remember a 90+ lefty who went undrafted. However, there must have been some. Where you're most likely to see this would be a lefty signed with Stanford, Georgia Tech, etc. who is condsidered unsignable.

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