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The Saber's Edge: Utilizing Velocity Decline

Jeff Zimmerman

Jeff Zimmerman

Jeff Zimmerman writes about all things Baseball for RotoWire. He also handles scouting and reporting for PrepBaseballReport.com. Jeff also contributes to RoyalsReview.com, FanGraphs.com and BaseballHeatMaps.com.

Every season, headlines surface about a pitcher gaining or losing fastball velocity. While most of these news stories happen right during spring training or at the beginning of the regular season, a pitcher can see midseason drops in velocity, especially when they come back from an injury. When a velocity loss is noticed, the key is to account for it appropriately and make an educated adjustment of the pitcher's value. This week, I will walk through this process by adjusting expectations for Mat Latos.

Latos missed the season's first half after having bone chips removed from his shoulder, and knee surgery. Since returning, his fastball velocity is down to an average of 90.4 mph compared to 92.6 mph in 2013. A 2.2 mph drop may seem significant, but is it really? On average, pitchers will continuously see a velocity decline as they age. Bill Petti and I looked at pitcher aging curves a few years b

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