Was there ever an age when so many different bullpen pitchers pitched with such high velocity? Nowadays, it seems that every bullpen has three to five guys who can throw the ball 95 MPH or higher. It’s crazy. I happened to think of this last night while watching Chad Qualls and Matt Albers of the Astros pitch. Both pitchers came in throwing gas. Qualls averaged 94.8 MPH on his fastball and topped out at 96.7. Albers averaged 95.7 MPH and also topped about at 96.6. How does this happen?
Chad Qualls is 36 years old. Shouldn’t he be slowing down? But he is not. Here is his fastball velocity since his career started:
Isn’t there something odd there that the older he gets, the more velocity he gets? Now let’s look at Albers:
And keep in mind that he was throwing 95.7 MPH last night on average. This seems to go against what Dave Cameron was talking about this morning on velocity. Again, Qualls is 36 and Albers is 31. Shouldn’t they be slowing down instead of speeding up?
Kevin Chapman also pitched for the Astros last night. He is 26 years old. He averaged 92.8 MPH on his fastball last year. He was also throwing over 95 last night.
I don’t mean to pick on just the Astros here. But I see it all over. For example, Jake McGee of the Rays has increased his velocity on his fastball every season he’s been in the big leagues. He is 28 now. Does that seem right? Last year, he averaged serious gas at 96.3 MPH. Last night, he averaged 97.7!
I will need time to ponder this. But it does not make physical sense. Cameron said in his piece that velocity decreases with age. These pitchers mentioned defy that. How are they doing it? Does it all happen in mechanics? What is the answer? I don’t know, but it is worth looking into further.