By Josh Boggs
Velocity is all the rage nowadays. Everyone seems hell-bent on throwing as hard as they possibly can. It seems every pitcher in the MLB throws 95+, so If you want to join that illustrious group, you’d better be doing the same. With that being said, there are some differences in what the radar gun reads and what the hitter sees. Essentially velocity has three different categories: Actual, Perceived, and Effective.
This is the easiest to understand of the three categories. Actual velocity is simply the reading on the radar gun. Although, just to clarify, the reading on the radar gun, especially at ballparks, is the
velocity of the baseball at or near pitch release and not in front of home plate as some have suggested to me. While the reading on a radar gun can be beneficial, understand it does not tell the whole story of velocity. To do that, we need more context.
This is where things get a little more interesting (and fun). Perceived velocity can vary from actual velocity because of essentially two factors: 1) A pitcher’s stride and 2) A pitcher’s release point.