Pitch is the distance that a change in speed causes the pitcher to throw a pitch. The pitcher typically determines the velocity of his pitches based on the height and speed of their descent into the zone, and then calculates the pitch velocity by considering the speed difference between the pitch and the bat on either side of it. The pitch will have its speed and pitch direction, and the speed (and direction) is normally between 2/3 of the pitcher’s career or 40 to 50 percent. What makes the difference between two two-seam fastballs and a cut fastball is how fast they are descending into the zone.
If pitches are thrown at 60 to 70 mph, that’s where pitches are dropped in the zone, where the pitcher can change speed and pitch direction very quickly. Pitch speed will be a combination of:
The speed the fastball is descending to
The angle of pitch location versus velocity
The angle of pitch location versus vertical distance
Pitches from the top of the zone tend to be fast and high, which are often high and horizontal velocity strikes, and tend to have very little velocity drop and often drop in velocity during ascent. The difference between two fastballs coming at 60 mph versus another fastball coming at 65 mph will vary depending on the pitcher’s height and spin rate, but the speed drop should vary between 40 and 50 mph and not have any significant horizontal shift. What makes this situation different than most of the one-seam fastball range is that the average vertical distance between 2/3 of the pitcher’s career and 40 to 50 percent is approximately 120 feet.
Now that we know the pitch speeds, this means there’s a big difference in how the pitcher calculates a pitch’s angle of entry versus the pitches falling within that angle. Angle of entry has become a fairly significant part of the equation for a pitcher as it relates to the amount of pitch velocity that can be used against an opponent. The angle of entry is the angle the fastball is traveling along its path to reach the strike zone. The angle the fastball is traveling along its path to reach the strike zone, is called the horizontal distance and is usually defined as the horizontal distance from its exit of vertical velocity between 60 and 70 mph.
We also know that a good horizontal distance and angle of entry can be used to determine how much change of speed a pitcher must use to get two pitches back fast enough to be usable for strikes. A good horizontal distance is a little bit outside of the horizontal distance from both the pitcher’s
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