Soriano not worried about missing velocity

Ivan Nova's approach against the Twins
The RAB Radio Show: April 5, 2011

As Rafael Soriano was busy retiring the likes of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the eighth inning of last night’s game, you may have noticed that his fastball wasn’t buzzing in with it’s usual oomph. The pitch averaged just 90.99 mph last night, down from the 93.0 mph he averaged last season. “I’m not 100% with my fastball,” he told Marc Carig after the game, adding that he doesn’t get all of his velocity back until May. He’s right; he started in the low-90’s before creeping up in the middle of the summer in each of the last two seasons. Ultimately, Soriano doesn’t seem concerned.

Missing velocity has been a hot topic in the early goings of the season, with most of the attention on Phil Hughes. He and Soriano are not alone though. Ivan Nova averaged 91.45 mph last night after sitting 92.9 last year. Jon Lester’s fastball averaged 93.5 mph in 2010 but sat just 91.19 on Opening Day. Felix Hernandez lost a full mile-an-hour when he sat 93.67 in his first start. Maybe everyone’s shoulder is hurt. Maybe it’s just the weather. Either way, there’s little use in getting worked up after one regular season start.

Ivan Nova's approach against the Twins
The RAB Radio Show: April 5, 2011
  • YanksFan in MA

    I tweeted KLaw yesterday about the Hughes velocity. He had responded to another question about being concerned with Hughes velo drop and in that response he said he didn’t worry unless it was a 3+ MPH drop. Since Hughes’ drop was approximately 3.5MPH, I asked him if he was saying that his answer was basically yes. I myself wanted to chalk it up to his first start and it being April but thought the question was worth asking. He basically said no, not good comparison since 1 start can’t be compared to a whole season’s average. Obviously that is true, but at what point do we start to worry. I figure three starts or about 20 innings. Either way, 3.5 MPH loss is a lot more worrisome than 1-2.

    • Ross in Jersey

      If it’s 3-4 starts into the season and Phil hasn’t regained any velocity on his fastball I’d say it’s time to worry. If that happens it probably means Phil has something phsyically wrong with his arm, so let’s pray that isn’t the case.

      For now though, it’s just a bump in the road we hope goes away in a start or two.

  • Jorge

    So Phil Hughes’s career is not over and we weren’t better off with Johan Santana sitting on the DL until 2016. Whew.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Fallacy of the predetermined…blah blah blah.

  • MannyGeee

    Biggest story lines of 2011:

    – Missing Velocities
    – Missing Obliques
    – Missing April Slumps

    • The Big City of Dreams

      You forgot one

      – Missing the yr of the pitcher

    • Jorge

      The long-awaited sequel to “Year of the hamstring” a few years back.

    • Owen

      Missing Red Sox dominance.

  • Yank the Frank

    When the weather warms up so will the velocities.

  • Guest

    “Maybe everyone’s shoulder is hurt. Maybe it’s just the weather.”…Maybe its the a-aa-a-a-alcohol?

    • MannyGeee

      MIggy only wants to speak on this if its in spanish

  • Greg G.

    I blame A-Rod.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      No it’s jeter’s fault his greedy ways have gotten out of hand

  • Jamal G.
  • Manimal

    Mike do I get anything for winning the RAB bracket thing? Or just bragging rights…

    • Mike Axisa

      You will get nothing and like it! Seriously, no prizes, just bragging rights.

      • Manimal

        lol will there be one last 2011 Bracket post so I can use my bragging rights?

  • Smallz


    • Ross in Jersey

      You’re killing me, Smalls.

      • Smallz

        +1 hahaha

      • MannyGeee

        well played, Mauer

        • Total Dominication


  • pete

    FWIW, when I pitched in high school, my coach had us gunned at the beginning and the end of the season. I had been working out and throwing for most of the winter and felt completely ready to go at the beginning of the season. That day it was about 50 degrees out, and I sat 79-80 and topped out at 82mph. When we got gunned again at the end of the season i sat 85-86 and topped out at 87. And I wasn’t the only one – of the four starters on my team that year, i was the only one to hit 80 the first go-round, and only one kid threw any fastballs below 80 the second time.

    Of course, that doesn’t at all prove that there isn’t something to be concerned about with any of these guys, but I think it’s pretty clear that one early-season start in cold weather is not enough to get worked up over.

  • Johnny O

    So King Felix is a buy low candidate?

    • MannyGeee

      no, not until he breaks his oblique too. then we can get him for Joba/Nunez

  • A.D.

    So is Rothschild on the hot seat yet for destroying all the starters velocities?

    Otherwise Ubaldo Jimenez was also a velocity down guy but he also had the whole cut on the cuticle going on

    • MannyGeee

      Jiminez’ velocity is down b/c he was too busy being the next big thing with the commercials and such…

      yeah, we get it, you have a non-typical name… there are no mini licence plates that say ‘Ubaldo’ at the rest stop.

      • Accent Shallow

        “Come along, Ubaldo.”
        “Are you talking to me?”
        “No, my son is also named Ubaldo.”

      • Jim S

        Oh come on, in comparison to a bunch of the other sludge in commercials, that one was pretty funny.

  • Dirty Pena

    Maybe the juiced balls are heavier.

    • Poopy Pants

      ESPN just said that.

  • Mike HC

    Along with velocity, looking at how the hitters were able to react to the heat should also show how effective the pitch was. If hitter were consistently late, or swinging through it, then velocity was probably not an issue. If hitter were right on the heat all night, there might be problem.

  • Steve

    It’s not just about the drop in velocity, it’s about his lack of secondary pitches. That’s what got him into trouble last year even when his velocity was still basically what it should be.

  • KeithK

    We have a lot more pitch velocity data these days than we ever did in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised if low velocity at the beginning of the season (due to arm strength or weather) is a relatively common phenomenon, one that we’re suddenly focusing on now because of the availability of data.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Well this makes one of us.

  • BuffaloFil

    For guys who LLLOOOVVVEEEE statistics, this is pretty limp. How about some standard deviations on those averages? And is the radar really accurate to 0.01? (90.99 mph)? Let’s be consistent with our significant figures. And let’s get a p value for comparison and at least mention statistical significance one time.