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Thread: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

  1. #1
    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Travis Wood just doesn't quit. Now in AAA, he shows no signs of slowing down. In most scouting reports I've read, the one thing folks say keeps Wood from being a blue chip prospect is his velocity--his fastball sits around 88-90 according to most publications. Anyway, here's my question:

    Could Wood's lack of 5 mph be a good thing?

    After seeing Edinson go on the shelf until next August, after seeing Prior and Wood break down early in their promising careers, after seeing Homer fail to locate his heat time and time again, after seeing so many other hurlers with 95-97 mph skills fail to live up to expectations for one reason or another...

    With the drafting of Mike Leake, who profiles in a similar way from the right side, I'm wondering if the Reds are thinking the same thing.
    Last edited by RedEye; 08-05-2009 at 11:43 AM.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Speed is never a bad thing.

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    Two-Time Batting Champ Edd Roush's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Certainly an over-reliance on velocity is a bad thing. Many pitchers go through high school knowing that if they can dial up the velocity, they won't have to locate it, because no one has the bat speed to catch up to it. Therefore, IMO it can be more difficult to learn control when you have extraordinary velocity because you have never needed it in the past. When you get to the majors, all of the sudden every one is blessed with that kind of bat speed and straight velocity won't get guys out.

    However, to call Wood's lack of velocity a good thing is another story. Certainly, if he was the same pitcher who had the same control and same secondary pitches, but he could throw his heater in the same location but 5 mph faster, it would be a benefit.

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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    I would have to think an extra 5 mph, he might have already been called up. There seems to be a little bit more hype and excitement over prospects that can dial it up.
    Hey Homer! If you can put it together, you'll put the Reds over the top....think about it.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Velocity may be one of the most overrated tools in today's minor league system. If you ask me movement and location are even more important. That is if a guy can dial it up to 88-90. A well spotted 88 MPH fastball is a heck of a lot better than a wild 95 MPH fastball.

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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Velocity may be one of the most overrated tools in today's minor league system. If you ask me movement and location are even more important. That is if a guy can dial it up to 88-90. A well spotted 88 MPH fastball is a heck of a lot better than a wild 95 MPH fastball.
    Amen. Location, movement, velocity - in that order -- defined the pitching philosophy of those great Braves staffs for all those years.

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    Two-Time Batting Champ Edd Roush's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by osuceltic View Post
    Amen. Location, movement, velocity - in that order -- defined the pitching philosophy of those great Braves staffs for all those years.
    No doubt this is correct. But velocity is still an asset. A lack of it while not as important as a lack of location, is still not a good thing.

  9. #8
    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    I guess I also have the impression that lower velocity = lower torque = less chance of injury. Aaron Harang, for example, could probably dial it up a few notches to hit 95 if he wanted to. But I think he's a much better pitcher with more control and durability when he sits at 90-91. It seems like guys who throw the heat have a really fine line to walk in their mechanics in order to maintain their velocity in a healthy manner--and when they get just a smidgen off (Volquez) they are a ticking time bomb for injury.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edd Roush View Post
    No doubt this is correct. But velocity is still an asset. A lack of it while not as important as a lack of location, is still not a good thing.
    Movement is such an important factor to velocity. The hitters in MLB are able to run around a straight 95 MPH fastball very quick. In reality the only players who are successful who throw straight heat are closers.

    88-90 is plenty fast, especially if the ball has good movement and can be located. IMO it is better than 95 straight and wild.

  11. #10
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    I think if anything it will help be a change of pace for opposing teams. Say in a year or two you have a Travis Wood between the likes of Cueto and Bailey. One day gas, the next day 'junk' the third more gas. It'll help throw them off their game a bit if nothing else.

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    Two-Time Batting Champ Edd Roush's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Movement is such an important factor to velocity. The hitters in MLB are able to run around a straight 95 MPH fastball very quick. In reality the only players who are successful who throw straight heat are closers.

    88-90 is plenty fast, especially if the ball has good movement and can be located. IMO it is better than 95 straight and wild.
    I, and Greg Maddux, agree. I really hope T. Wood can sustain some success in AAA and will be knocking on the door next year. I hope the Reds can go out and sign a league average free agent pitcher to compete with Bailey, Wood and Owings for the last couple spots of the rotation.

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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    If you throw hard, you can always take something off it in the future to add movement. If you don't throw hard, you don't throw hard.

    Me? I'd rather have people who throw hard that CAN take something off it when needed or CAN dial it up in when needed. I like options.
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edd Roush View Post
    I, and Greg Maddux, agree. I really hope T. Wood can sustain some success in AAA and will be knocking on the door next year. I hope the Reds can go out and sign a league average free agent pitcher to compete with Bailey, Wood and Owings for the last couple spots of the rotation.
    Why does everyone seem to forget that Maddux threw 95 when he came up?
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Why does everyone seem to forget that Maddux threw 95 when he came up?
    Because they want to hope that other soft tossers can become great? Heck, even in his prime Maddux could hit 95 when he wanted to. He just worked 90-92 because it helped him get that extra movement.

  16. #15
    Resident PED Expert nemesis's Avatar
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    Re: Is Wood's lack of velocity a good thing?

    The primary thing here is he is LH. If he was a RH who throws 88 to 90 he'd been converted to a reliever 2 seasons ago...

    But he isn't. LHP in baseball have a different set of rules than do RH. They tend to take longer to develop, and have generally longer careers if they do make the Majors. Would it be nice if he threw 92 to 95? Sure. But I'd rather have a guy like Wood who turned himself into a pitcher with the stuff he has than a Dontrelle Willis, a Ankiel, a Howington, a Gruler, a Vazquez, a Valiquette, a Webb, a Arneson, a Bowman... Guys who throw all kinds of heat from the left side but have no movement, no control or both. Tom Browning made a nice career living in the 88 to 91 zone for a long time. So has Jamie Moyer, Tom Glavine, Ted Lilly, Joe Saunders, heck Dallas Braden is another comparible style pitcher and i'd take him in a second... Braves draftee Mike Minor, taken ahead of Leake in the 1st round this year, doesn't profile to be much better than Wood.

    Anytime I read anything on Wood one constant remains on all his scouting reports, he probaly has the best change of all LHP in the minors, if not all the minors. If a pitcher best pitch is a great change with a 10 to 14 MPH drop in speed from the fastball it makes the hitter bat a little slower, so much so that a 90 MPH fastball would almost have a look of a 92 to 94 mph fastball.
    Last edited by nemesis; 08-05-2009 at 05:03 PM.


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