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Thread: When does baseball lower the mound...

  1. #1
    ZCTRMTP!!!!! texasdave's Avatar
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    When does baseball lower the mound...

    ...or push it back a bit?

    A little context is in order.

    During the late '70s or maybe early '80s a magazine entitled Baseball Digest ran an article that mentioned the fact that only a couple of pitchers could touch 90 MPH with their fastball. 90 MPH used to be the benchmark of a pitcher with a very good fastball.

    Fast forward to today and a 90 MPH fastball is really only average at best. Does it surprise anyone at all when they hear someone throws mid-90's nowadays? Players are bigger and stronger and throw the ball harder. I was reading the profiles on the draftees and every pitcher it seems can throw in the mid-90s.

    So what if this trend continues? What happens when 95 MPH is nothing special and 100 MPH becomes the benchmark?

    Last night we got a glimpse of what happens when a pitcher can touch 100 MPH with control, along with complementary off-speed pitches. It seems logical to believe that with more pitchers being able to throw harder, that there are going to be be more of those pitchers with both control and off-speed stuff.

    How do batters adapt? Can they increase bat speed? Do all but the best start to choke up and become contact hitters?

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    Member Magdal's Avatar
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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Without steroids I believe the only way to increase bat speed is, yes, choking up. I don't understand why you wouldn't with dominating pitchers. The amount of contact increases with more hits AND foul offs, greatly increasing the pitch count.

    That little gnat Eckstien is the only guy I know of that chokes up, and he is near or at the top in the least strike outs every season.

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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    They already lowered the mound once in 1969 from 15 inches to 10 inches.

    There has definitely been drop off in home runs recently (due to testing for steroids?) but just because one pitcher can flirt with 100MPH and can dominate a bad team is not a reason to start changing things again.
    "I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." Stephen Hawking

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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    I think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself with changing the mound height or distance.

    Here are a couple of points I think are worth mentioning.

    1.) Don't believe draft prospect scouting reports. A guy sits at 88-92 and then "touches" 95 on what might be a fast gun suddenly has a scouting report saying he can throw 95. Look at Mike Leakes scouting report from last year. It has him as 94. The hardest I have seen him throw is 92 and I have seen that once. Most of the time he is 87-90.

    2.) There are less guys throwing 95+ now than there were during the height of the steroid era. Guys like Eric Gagne who never threw harder than 93 were suddenly hitting 98-99 routinely.

    3.) In 1968, the last time they lowered the mound the offensive/defensive production was badly skewed. There were 16 pitchers finishing the season with Eras under 2.30, including 7 with ERAs under 2.00. There were 6 hitters in all of baseball with BAs over .300. Today there are 10 pitchers with ERAs under 2.30, 2 under 2.00 and nearly 40 guys batting over .300 and the hot weather that helps out the offenses has not started yet.

    4.) The same strength training and nutritional programs that allows pitchers to get stronger and throw harder is the same one that hitters use to increase their strength and bat speed so there is not really a huge advantage to the pitchers.

    I guess the final point is, there a a reason why Steven Strausburg is so hyped and it is because he is an extremely rare occurence. He has 100mph velocity, command and most importantly his pitches have good movement.

    Back in 1997 the #1 overall pick in the draft was a kid name Matt Anderson who had a fastball that litterally sat 100-102 but he had no control and it was straight as an arrow so when it did get over the plate it was generally screaming over the outfield wall at 130mph.

    Lets see where things are at the end of the year. I don't think the game needs to be altered right now.

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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    could you imagine pujols getting even slower pitches... ouch

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    Member Oxilon's Avatar
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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    I think the better question is, when do the Reds move the fences back at GABP? Low mound, high mound, either way, routine flyballs are landing at the warning track and beyond. It's beyond ridiculous.
    That hit was plenty fair. Atleast by a quarter of an inch.
    -Steve Stone

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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    ....

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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Pretty soon pitchers will be throwing from foxholes.

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    ZCTRMTP!!!!! texasdave's Avatar
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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Quote Originally Posted by krm1580 View Post
    I think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself with changing the mound height or distance.

    Here are a couple of points I think are worth mentioning.

    1.) Don't believe draft prospect scouting reports. A guy sits at 88-92 and then "touches" 95 on what might be a fast gun suddenly has a scouting report saying he can throw 95. Look at Mike Leakes scouting report from last year. It has him as 94. The hardest I have seen him throw is 92 and I have seen that once. Most of the time he is 87-90.

    2.) There are less guys throwing 95+ now than there were during the height of the steroid era. Guys like Eric Gagne who never threw harder than 93 were suddenly hitting 98-99 routinely.

    3.) In 1968, the last time they lowered the mound the offensive/defensive production was badly skewed. There were 16 pitchers finishing the season with Eras under 2.30, including 7 with ERAs under 2.00. There were 6 hitters in all of baseball with BAs over .300. Today there are 10 pitchers with ERAs under 2.30, 2 under 2.00 and nearly 40 guys batting over .300 and the hot weather that helps out the offenses has not started yet.

    4.) The same strength training and nutritional programs that allows pitchers to get stronger and throw harder is the same one that hitters use to increase their strength and bat speed so there is not really a huge advantage to the pitchers.

    I guess the final point is, there a a reason why Steven Strausburg is so hyped and it is because he is an extremely rare occurence. He has 100mph velocity, command and most importantly his pitches have good movement.

    Back in 1997 the #1 overall pick in the draft was a kid name Matt Anderson who had a fastball that litterally sat 100-102 but he had no control and it was straight as an arrow so when it did get over the plate it was generally screaming over the outfield wall at 130mph.

    Lets see where things are at the end of the year. I don't think the game needs to be altered right now.
    I wasn't suggesting that the mound needs to be lowered or moved back now. I can see pitchers outgrowing the dimensions of the field at some point in the future.

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    Member Magdal's Avatar
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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Krm that was the best post I've seen here. Good job. (of course I've only been here 3 days)

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    ZCTRMTP!!!!! texasdave's Avatar
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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    I borrowed these numbers from Fangraphs:

    This is a list of the average velocity of starter's fastballs yearly starting in 2002. This is the first year that I saw that Fangraphs had this type of data. I am guessing that 2002 is still the 'steroids' era since testing had not yet begun.

    Code:
    YEAR	90+%	93+%
    2002	48%	11%
    2003	46%	4%
    2004	45%	10%
    2005	42%	7%
    2006	51%	13%
    2007	57%	14%
    2008	66%	16%
    2009	73%	21%
    2010	71%	16%
    The second column (90+%) is the percentage of starters who, for that particular year, had an average fastball of at least 90 MPH. In 2002 it was just less than half at 48%. By 2009 it was markedly higher as almost 3 out of 4 starters had an average fastball of 90 MPH.

    The third column (93+%) is the percentage of starters who, for that particular year, had an average fastball of at least 93 MPH. In 2002 it was about one out of every ten. By 2009 it had jumped to about one out of every five.

    Here is a link in case anyone wants to check out the numbers for themselves.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...n=2010&month=0
    I don't know where Fangraphs got their data from - maybe Game Day.

    And I believe the math is right. It seems clear (unless I made a mistake somewhere) that pitchers are indeed throwing with more velocity these days than they did during the 'steroids' era.

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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Quote Originally Posted by texasdave View Post
    ...or push it back a bit?

    A little context is in order.

    During the late '70s or maybe early '80s a magazine entitled Baseball Digest ran an article that mentioned the fact that only a couple of pitchers could touch 90 MPH with their fastball. 90 MPH used to be the benchmark of a pitcher with a very good fastball.
    Those 90-mph Fastballs had more movement on them when players used to doctor the ball more often.

    I think a batter would rather face a 95-mph fastball today more frequently than those 90-mph fastballs of 40-60-80 years ago.

    I've always understood they've raised and lowered the mound when they feel there are too little or two many runs being scored. They change the strikezone when they want the ball hit more up in the air or more down on the ground and also for adjusting the runs.

    It's a very odd game where they can maneuver things in this way to change the game itself.
    Last edited by Kingspoint; 06-10-2010 at 02:29 AM.

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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Quote Originally Posted by texasdave View Post
    I borrowed these numbers from Fangraphs:

    This is a list of the average velocity of starter's fastballs yearly starting in 2002. This is the first year that I saw that Fangraphs had this type of data. I am guessing that 2002 is still the 'steroids' era since testing had not yet begun.

    Code:
    YEAR	90+%	93+%
    2002	48%	11%
    2003	46%	4%
    2004	45%	10%
    2005	42%	7%
    2006	51%	13%
    2007	57%	14%
    2008	66%	16%
    2009	73%	21%
    2010	71%	16%
    The second column (90+%) is the percentage of starters who, for that particular year, had an average fastball of at least 90 MPH. In 2002 it was just less than half at 48%. By 2009 it was markedly higher as almost 3 out of 4 starters had an average fastball of 90 MPH.

    The third column (93+%) is the percentage of starters who, for that particular year, had an average fastball of at least 93 MPH. In 2002 it was about one out of every ten. By 2009 it had jumped to about one out of every five.

    Here is a link in case anyone wants to check out the numbers for themselves.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...n=2010&month=0
    I don't know where Fangraphs got their data from - maybe Game Day.

    And I believe the math is right. It seems clear (unless I made a mistake somewhere) that pitchers are indeed throwing with more velocity these days than they did during the 'steroids' era.
    Boy, it's really changed a lot in just the last few years.

    Maybe because it's harder and harder to doctor the ball and get away with it because of all the cameras at every ballpark now,.... that as a result velocity has become more important. Movement has always been more important, but it's harder to get the movement "legally" now. You don't have to go back very many years to remember "doctoring of pitches" (see Clemens). It was the norm for over 100 years. Velocity was second to movement in importance.
    Last edited by Kingspoint; 06-10-2010 at 02:43 AM.

  15. #14
    Hanigan's Homies DirtyBaker's Avatar
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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Daniel Ray Hererra is the reason the mound should stay exactly where it is.

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    ZCTRMTP!!!!! texasdave's Avatar
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    Re: When does baseball lower the mound...

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyBaker View Post
    Daniel Ray Hererra is the reason the mound should stay exactly where it is.
    I'd love to see Dusty walk out to the mound with a phone book when DRH was coming in to pitch.


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