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Dodgers Prospects: The 100 MPH Arms Within The Farm System

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, three names in the farm system are part of the century club. Within baseball, this is known as the group of hurlers who can touch 100 miles per hour with their fastball.

However – as Baseball America reports – this group is diminishing within the game. The Dodgers are lucky enough to boast three of these arms. They are the following names.

  • Stetson Allie
  • Zach Willeman
  • Joel Inoa

While that list isn’t large, it follows the trend that is taking place within the game; according to the report.

In conversations with scouts and front office officials during the season many of them mentioned seeing less pitchers with top-of-the-scale fastballs than they had seen in other recent seasons. Now we have some data to back of that assertion.

At the MLB level, the average fastball velocity around the league, as measured by Baseball Info Solutions (and presented by Fangraphs.com), remained steady at 92.8 mph in 2018. It was the first time since 2010 that the average fastball velocity hadn’t jumped.

To me, this comes as a slight surprise. It seems that to be a part of a big league bullpen in 2019 – you must be a flamethrower. The fact is, guys can throw really hard and still not have the ability to hit triple-digits with regularity or at all. Equally important – if you throw really hard – you must still have secondary pitches and be able to command your power stuff.

Eleven teams in baseball have two or fewer arms within the minor league system that can accomplish the feat. The San Diego Padres have the most flamethrowers of any farm system with six currently. With five in this elite club, the Texas Rangers come in second place.

If you’re a fan that enjoys prospects, file away the names Zach Willeman and Joel Inoa for the future. Stetson Allie is the most known-commodity of the group, and our own Tyler Hawk had a detailed post on the power right-hander last summer.

Throwing hard is simply a tool that helps you reach the big leagues. However, many other factors are in play in terms of a pitcher being able to breakthrough at the highest level of competition. Over the course of time, this is a skill that diminishes; time catches up to every player. When that happens – it comes down to a pitcher being able to do just that; execute his pitch.

Nonetheless, this was an interesting read provided by the fine folks at Baseball America. The take home message? Don’t take your triple-digit arms for granted. There simply aren’t many to go around that walk the earth and fewer by the day.

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. As everyone has seen velocity is great to a point, but control, movement and the ability to hide the ball during your delivery all add into the equation. I look at spin rates and control more than any other metrics. A pitcher’s WHIP tells you a lot.

    Look at guys like Maddux, Greinke or with the Dodgers Ryu movement and control are incredibly important. The Dodgers do well in teaching changing level. They advocate throwing fastball high in the zone which is a multiplier for pitch speed. Very hard to catch up to the higher pitch when everyone is attempting to put the ball in the air so a higher pitch is not on the plane of the bat for very long….

    Hill does a great job getting away with a lower velocity fastball because of changing levels and of course those vicious curves and his changing arm levels.

    Kershaw’s issues really showed what a drop in velocity can do if the pitcher does not change his pitch selection and hit his spots. It will be interesting to see the new 2019 Kershaw revision he comes up with. Can he get the 2-3 mph back or does he change his pitch selection more to throw the slider as he did second half of 2018?

    • Great post! It’s great to see guys like 88-91 Rich Hill survive on smarts, and guile isn’t it?

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