From clients who do video analysis and come for lessons it’s all over the board because it is all based on many variables such as growth and development, size, mechanics and being fit to pitch.
For example we had a 16 year old last week 6’1″ 155 going into junior year throwing 84 mph. A 6’4″ 160 gradutating senior 82 mph. A 6′ 166 lbs. senior 84 mph. A 6’8″ 240 lb senior throwing 84 mph.
I believe the average high school fastball to be about 80 mph…not 85 mph as many would like you to believe. Very few high school pitchers are upper 80’s or hitting 90 mph.
Why? Poor mechanics and wasting time on practice activities that do not work.
Roger Clemens was reported to be 82-84 mph out of high school. Billy Wagner – 78 mph. Braves closer in the late 90’s Mark Wohlers was 82 mph. Clemens did not hit 90 mph until college. Both Wohlers and Wagner ended up throwing over 100 mph.
No pitcher should compare his velocity to someone else’s since you must consider all the variables.
If you want to throw harder you must improve mechanics, create valuable practice time, get quality feedback and be fit to pitch.
Hopefully others will chime in as well.
If they were only throwing low 80s or below, how did Clemens, Wagner, and Wohlers ever get a chance to pitch beyond high school? What did the scouts or college coaches see in them?
TV and Internet stories indicate that all of the pitchers who get drafted out of high school these days are throwing in the low-to-mid 90s. Also, it seems that every right-handed high school pitcher who gets a scholarship to a D-1 school is said to be throwing 90 or above, and every lefty is throwing at least 88 with a wicked breaking ball.
Based upon what you’ve seen and heard from your students all over the country, what do you consider “average” velocity for a high school varsity pitcher (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior)? Thanks for all you do to keep us informed. Keep up the good work!
As for Clemens, Wohlers and Wagner coaches could project that they would throw harder with more development and more skill. Ryan and I are able to do this when we observe pitchers doing video analysis or during one-on-one lessons.
In observing D1 pitchers for three years while my son Ryan was at ASU, plus while watching the regionals and College World Series over the years, I do not see all D1 pitchers throwing 90 mph…far from it. And they do not have to.
The question for pitchers is – can you help a D1 coach win or save games by proving you can do it in high school and at showcase tournaments by getting all types hitters out.
ASU’s closer the past two years is a lefty who is mostly low 80’s but again changes speeds well. He pitched 90 innings the year before last.
I know of two pitchers at USC who could barely break 80 mph but were mainstayes at that program. One was a starter and had the best USC record in history but could not break 82 mph. But he could pitch. The other was a closer whose specialty was a change-up. He could barely break 80 mph. But both could locate their fastballs and change speeds very well. I remember both gave ASU hitters fits.
If you want to play college ball then there are two things you should do. Maximize your velocity by finding out what errors are reducing it. This should be focused on much earlier than pitchers, parents or coaches believe. Thus why getting kids mechanically sound in LL is so crucial to success later on.
Secondly, focus on fastball location and having a dominating secondary pitch whether a change-up or breaking ball…one you are confident you can locate on any count.
Of course also learn how to change speeds.
Hitters will always tell you whether you are succeeding or not. Coaches just observe how hitters react to what pitcher throw when they are evaluating.
Few high school or college pitchers can do those things well. And a lot of pros don’t do them well either.
Most pitchers of course are not spending their practice time wisely to either improve velocity or the skill of locating their pitches because most do not understand what it takes to produce mastery over a skill such as pitching.
Just an opinion- I think an average fastball of 80 mph would be for your top or better high school pitchers. I think mid to high 70s would be more accurate for all pitchers.
I also really liked the info Dick posted on the successful USC pitchers who are throwing around 80. It shows that overall pitching skill and ability to actual pitch are what really matter.
I think colleges and the pros would be well suited to give some of those guys (skilled pitchers who may not throw as hard) more of an opportunity. Others like Moyer or say John Tudor from the 80s can be successful.
I agree with you. But I heard Tom Glavine say on TV recently that he thinks Greg Maddux might not get drafted if he were coming out of high school today. That would be like IBM telling Bill Gates, “We can’t hire you because you don’t have a college degree.”
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