Too much emphasis is placed on how hard a pitcher is throwing or radar gun “readings” but for a guy like Drew Hutchison being able to sustain consistent velocity deep into his starts is definitely important. Drew is coming off a career best start in his short major league career, limiting the Baltimore Orioles to 3 hits over 7 strong innings and striking out an impressive 9 batters.
Hutch pounded the strike zone with a four seam fastball he used 80 times (out of 114 total pitches) and his sustained velocity was on full display. Pitch F/X data from Brooks Baseball said his four-seam fastball averaged 92.82 MPH and topped out at 95.3.
Check out this chart:
He was throwing slightly harder as the innings wore on and kept the Orioles on their toes trying to keep up with his impressive heater.
Check out the difference from an earlier start:
As you can see his velocity definitely wavered as he started to possibly tire or had mechanical issues around the 70-pitch mark. Velocity isn’t the be all and end all in terms of predicting future success for a young starting pitcher but when Hutchison is going well he is normally throwing heat later into his starts.
Hutchison pitched successfully off of his fastball in his last start versus the Orioles, mixing in only a handful of off-speed pitches. His slider was thrown 21 times and had an impressive whiff rate of 19% as he tried to get hitters to chase it outside of the strike zone.
If this is a sign of things to come it can only mean good things for the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff.