Five pitchers losing velocity

Sabathia among hurlers whose outlook is hindered by decreased velocity

Updated: April 11, 2014, 12:04 PM ET
By Jared Cross | ESPN Insider

CC SabathiaTroy Taormina/USA TODAY SportsCC Sabathia's ERA projection -- as well as his velocity -- is now dropping.

On Thursday, we looked at pitchers who have shown more velocity this spring than in the past and adjusted their ERA projections accordingly. Today, we'll look at the pitchers who have lost a little steam and adjust their ERA projections in the other direction.

A pitcher's velocity over the first week of the season predicts his velocity over the remainder of the season just as well as his velocity from the entire previous season. The best velocity predictions going forward split the difference, averaging last year's velocity with velocity from the first week of the season, and this holds true for starters as well as relievers. By using pitch data from BrooksBaseball.net with adjustments for "hot" and "cold" radar guns and taking into account the facts that pitchers tend to lose velocity as they age and tend to have the least velocity in April, we can view velocity readings from the first week of the season in their proper context.

Additionally, based on Mike Fast's research we can adjust Steamer's preseason ERA projections based on how hard each pitcher is throwing thus far this year.

Here are some big-name pitchers whose ERA projections have dropped significantly by virtue of losing velocity in 2014.


lastname

CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
2013: 92.3 mph fastball, 91.3 mph sinker
2014: 90.1 mph fastball, 88.9 mph sinker
Preseason projection: 3.90 ERA
ERA adjustment: +0.16 ERA

Sabathia's four-seam fastball has averaged 90.3 and 89.9 mph in his two starts, his lowest velocity games of the PITCHf/x era. His previous lows came in April of last year and we should expect him to add some velocity as the season progresses.