On David Price's Velocity | The Process Report

On David Price’s Velocity

David Price’s struggles to begin the season have many looking for explanation, with the hot one right now centering on reduced velocity. The data at BrooksBaseball certainly backs up those concerns at a surface level:


Price’s average fastball velocity is down two miles per hour from last season while his other pitches have remained constant, including his cutter.

Saturday night was the 20th time Price started a game following an outing in which he threw at least 115 pitches in a game. Rather than focus on the outcomes, which are truly all over the place, we will focus in on the issue on everyone’s mind. The line graph below shows Price’s average velocity in each of those 20 starts that came after a 115-plus pitch outing, in chronological order:


(The data for the above graph as well as links to the velocity charts of each start from BrooksBaseball can be viewed here.)

The velocity chart for last night start showed that Price was able to maintain the velocity he had through 50 pitches before showing decreased velocity and going to his secondary pitches for the second half of the start:


Of course velocity, while being the easiest thing to measure, is not the only aspect of pitching. Price still had enough velocity to succeed. As a bonus Price showed some in-game adjustments and was still able to get into the seventh inning while throwing mostly secondary pitches. His most impressive sequence of the game was against Josh Rutledge when he retired him on just four pitches, all of which were off-speed. The first two were breaking balls on each corner, the third was an attempted backdoor cutter, and the put-away pitch was a changeup at the bottom of the zone that Rutledge swung over top of.

strike-zone (3)Price’s next start is at home against a struggling Blue Jays team. He’ll face off against the league’s other struggling, reigning Cy Young winner in R.A. Dickey.