Where 2020 Velocity Decliners Stand in Spring Training by Jeff Zimmerman March 11, 2021 During the offseason, I kept track of pitchers who saw a 2020 velocity drop or were coming back from injuries. I’ve decided to check in on them. I know some of the sources can be a little wonky (e.g. stadium guns), but it’s better than nothing. Also, the pitchers could add velocity as they continue through Spring Training even though it rarely happens. That said, any information is better than going in blind. For the velocity readings, I used FanGraphs for the 2019 and 2020 readings and the 2021 information from my personally collected list. Madison Bumgarner 2019: 91.4 2020: 88.4 2021: 90-91 Bumgarner seems to be caring after he blew off his pre-season throwing last year. Projections don’t like him projecting an ERA near 5.00 but if the velocity stands, he should at least be around 4.00 ERA pitcher. Patrick Corbin 2019: 91.9 2020: 90.2 2021: 89.9 Corbin is nearly unrosterable if his velocity is headed down even more. As a fastball-slider pitcher, he needs the extra velocity to be productive. His K-BB% has been on a three-year decline from 25% to 20% to 14% as his velocity as waned. He’s going to need to reinvent himself or he’s at best a streaming option. Sean Doolittle 2019: 93.5 2020: 90.7 2021: 92 Doolittle’s velocity is up from last season, but still not up to his 2019 levels. I think it’s a situation to monitor especially with Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims dealing with injuries. Adrian Houser 2019: 94.4 2020: 93.4 2021: No info yet Sorry, no information yet. Clayton Kershaw 2019: 90.4 2020: 91.6 (season-long decline, late back injury) 2021: 89.5 A ton of hype surrounded Kershaw’s velocity increase last year, but he wasn’t able to keep the gains. Additionally, a back injury meant he missed some of the playoffs. He has been able to keep his strikeouts up by throwing his fastball less (72% in 2010, 54% in 2015, 41% in 2020). Also, he’s not going further into games averaging just 5.8 IP last season limiting the time he sees an order the third time. Most of the tricks to keep aging pitchers productive have already been implemented with him, so any velocity loss will degrade his production. Dinelson Lamet 2019: 96.1 2020: 97.1 (late-season arm injury) 2021: 95 Lamet has not thrown in a game yet, but the 95-mph report from a bullpen is encouraging. He should remain productive as long as he is healthy. I’m not ready to buy in just yet until he gets into a few games. If this means I will have no shares of him, I’m fine with that. Corbin Martin 2019: 95.3 2020: DNP (returning from TJS) 2021: 95.6 (one pitch) While not an elite prospect, Martin has completed his rehab and should be able to help the Diamondbacks. Carlos Martinez 2019: 95.8 2020: 93.9 2021: 91 (96 topped) Velocity readings are all over the place here, but none are good. The sitting 91 mph report crosses him off my draft list. I mentioned it, and someone said he topped out at 96 mph. This reading is still not good. I’ve found most pitchers sit 3 mph under their topped speed, so he’d still be under the 94 mph from 2020 when he posted a 9.90 ERA and 2.10 WHIP. Miles Mikolas 2019: 93.6 2020: DNP (forearm surgery) 2021: Has not pitched Nothing yet. Mike Minor 2019: 92.6 2020: 90.6 2021: 94 Absolutely nothing to see here, just ignore this reading especially if you are drafting in a league with me. Just a minor pitcher with a minor change. Charlie Morton 2019: 94.4 2020: 93.3 2021: 95 Morton gained velocity late in the season and into the postseason. With his velocity back up, it’s time to draft away. James Paxton 2019: 95.5 2020: 92.1 2021: Has not pitched I’m a little worried that he hasn’t been in games yet. Tanner Roark 2019: 92.1 2020: 90.7 2021: 89.1 Even more of a drop. Ignore. Eduardo Rodriguez 2019: 93.1 2020: DNP (COVID complications) 2021: 92 He’s down just a bit, but I’d draft away with confidence. (Ed. note: he also threw 4 IP with 6 Ks on the day this is going up, 3/11/21) Caleb Smith 2019: 91.6 2020: 92.1 (up with AZ) 2021: 91.5 No more gains, but not down. He’s fine. Jameson Taillon 2019: 94.8 2020: DNP (returning from TJS) 2021: 92 His velocity is not up yet and maybe he might struggle for a few months will he gets used to his new elbow. While it may burn me, I’m going to pass on him at his current price (195 ADP) and take a chance on Aaron Civale or Zach Eflin who are going around him.