Early-Season Velocities

By Editorial Staff

A few days into the year, I thought I’d look at where the velocity of the pitches of each of the Padres’ pitchers (save Mat Latos, who doesn’t have any pitch f/x data) stands coming out of spring training.

Heath Bell is throwing in the low-to-mid-90’s with his fastball, averaging 93.3 mph. He’s ditched his slider in favor of his curveball, which sits in the low 80’s. He’s completely ditched his slider and changeup thus far.

Ed Mujica has increased his velocity a bit, and is now throwing in the 92-95 range with his fastball after working at 90-94 in the past. This has led to a higher use of his fastball this year. He’s also increased his slider velocity (80-86 after more in the 78-82 range before) and splitter velocity (86-90 after sitting at 84-88).

Mike Adams continues to work in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball. His slider still sits in the mid-to-high 80’s, and his curveball still hovers around 79 mph. The one issue is his changeup, which has lost almost a full mph of separation from his fastball. The pitch has struggled (albeit in a very small sample) this season.

Sean Gallagher has the same 92ish fastball he’s always had, but his slider has dropped three mph from last year, rendering it loopier and less effective. Gallagher’s curveball has come in from 70-73 mph, but he’s tightened up the spin and added some drop, so it’s a better pitch than the mid-70’s breaker he featured in the past. He’s leaned much more heavily on his changeup than in years past, but it’s coming in a bit harder than in years past, in the 81-84 mph range.

Clayton Richard showed off the same 88-94 mph fastball of last year. He also has an 84-88 mph cutter. Richard’s slider is a bit loopy, and it’s lost some sharpness early on, going in the 78-80 mph range. He’s decreased the use of his 81-84 mph changeup this year, and that’s given it better results than in years past, when he over-relied on the pitch.

Tim Stauffer has increased his fastball velocity this year, topping out around 93 after struggling to touch 90 in the past. He also has worked his slider into the mid-to-high-80’s now. His curve and changeup also have picked up about 2 mph this year. The shift to relief pitching is what’s probably helped his velocity out.

Kevin Correia still works in the 89-93 mph range with his fastball. His high-80’s cutter has largely taken over the role of his mid-80’s slider, although the line between the pitches is blurred. His curveball, which he doesn’t use much, is the same 74-78 mph pitch it’s always been. Correia’s changeup now is in the 85-87 range, which is dangerously close to his fastball velocity. His fastball/changeup velocity separation is now down to 4.6 mph, after being around 7 mph last year.

Luke Gregerson has lost about half a mile per hour on all three of his pitches, throwing a low-90’s fastball, low-80’s slider, and high-70’s changeup. He’s used his changeup much more than he has in the past, taking his fastball usage down to around 35%, one of the lowest in the majors.

Jon Garland throws an 88-92 mph fastball and 85-89 mph cutter. Both his breaking pitches–a mid-80’s slider and high-70’s curveball–have gained some velocity this year. His changeup comes in in the high 70’s as well, and he’s thrown it in the 77-80 mph range this year after staying in the low 80’s in years past. He’s cut down on the use of the slider and changeup while throwing far more cutters than in the past.

Cesar Ramos has lost four mph on his heater (86-88 mph) and 1 mph on his slider (80-84 mph). He’s ditched his curveball and changeup this year since moving to relief.

Chris Young has ditched his changeup, which is a bizarre decision given the success the pitch has had in the past. He’s dusted off his curveball, which used to go in the 68-73 mph range, and he’s added some velocity to it, going in the 71-76 range this year. His fastball and slider, however, have lost some velocity, sitting in the 84 and 74 mph range, respectively.

So there you have it! That’s what the Padres pitchers are throwing this season!