With All-Star festivities in full swing for the last two days of Fanfest as well as Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s All-Star game, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved or test your baseball skills.
As many viral news outlets have claimed, sometimes the best way to see how hard something is can only be trying it yourself. We headed to the Strike Out station at the 2018 Geico All-Star Fanfest to throw a couple times and calculate our average speeds.
Because every experiment needs a good methodology, each participant threw six pitches and recorded the miles per hour velocity of each throw as displayed on the counter above the target.
Both participants were heckled lovingly by their peers and the volunteers running the station, and both received completely unprofessional feedback and adjusted accordingly between throws.
First up: Charlie. Charlie, who is currently 6’ 4”, played for his middle-school baseball team before quitting in high school at a disgruntled 14-year-old height of 5’ 4”.
His observational knowledge of pitching physics and technique is pretty fantastic. He guessed that he could pitch 81 mph on his best of six throws.
On the first pitch, the speedometer registered 75 mph. Not to be discouraged, Charlie threw again. 76 mph. Then up one more notch to 77 mph. But not all objects in motion can stay in motion, and the fourth pitch was 75 mph. His last two throws came in at an uncanny 76 and 77 mph.
If any MLB team is looking for a lefty reliever, I can throw 77 without warming up pic.twitter.com/E87zJaKKlk— Charlie DiSturco (@charliedisturco) July 16, 2018
Charlie’s 76 mph average is nothing to sneeze at, but not the 81 mph he was hoping for.
Second on the mound: Scout. Scout stands at a respectable 5’ 7” and performs with a dance company, as well as playing club rugby. They never really learned how to properly throw a baseball pitch, but they did collect baseball cards in third grade. Given their inexperience, they hoped to pitch above a 50 mph average.
The first of Scout’s pitches was a disaster. They slipped trying to find the proper stance, and thus the pitch went directly downwards, registering at 15 mph. Not the best start. After some adjustment, and centering power in the legs like the pros tend to do, their next throw clocked in at 69 mph.
They struggled again on the third, letting go too late. 38 mph. But once they returned to the successful form, as incorrect as it may be, their last three pitches landed at 70, 71, and 75 mph.
With the first pitch factored out as human error, Scout’s average was a solid 64.6 mph.
It’s important to note that most other average Joes trying their hand at pitching alongside Charlie and Scout were clocking speeds anywhere from 30 mph to 80 mph, with most falling somewhere in the 35 to 55 mph range.
At the time, the results seemed pretty good. 75 mph is an abnormally slow pitch speed in the MLB, but you’ll still likely see one or two of them per game.
But when you pit the interns against Washington Nationals All-Star pitcher and very fast thrower Max Scherzer, things look a little bleak.
Scherzer, according to data from Fangraphs, has an average pitch velocity of 92.4 mph over 20 games so far this season.
Ouch. Not even close.
It’s hard, of course, to directly compare people who work out for fun with people who work out for a living, let alone people who are the very best at working out for a living and trained for decades to excel in their skillset.
Though it was fun to try, we’ll leave the pitching to Scherzer.
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