KC Royals: Five Reasons Chris Young Can Continue to Dominate

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1) Chris Young Looks Like He’s Throwing Harder Than 86 MPH

Jun 9, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Chris Young (32) walks to the dugout in the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Royals won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

While everyone talks about a pitcher’s velocity, all 86 mph fastballs are not alike. Aside from movement, even two pitches that register the same speed on the radar gun can look very different to the hitter.

The amount of time a hitter has to react to a pitch is what matters. That time is determined by the pitch’s velocity, and the distance it travels. We can express this relationship in a simple physics equation:

"Time = Distance/Velocity"

Since most pitchers are roughly the same size, we can usually compare how much time a hitter has to react to a pitch simply by reporting the pitch’s velocity.

That’s not the case with extremely tall pitchers.

When you have someone like Chris Young, who is 6’10”, he can release the ball significantly closer to the plate than a typical pitcher. With his long stride and long arms, Young releases the ball about a foot closer to home plate than most pitchers.

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Of course, determining how fast a pitch “seems” is more complicated in real life. The ball doesn’t follow a flat trajectory between the pitcher’s hand and home plate. The ball will travel in an “arc” since gravity will pull the ball downward. Pitchers also will throw the ball with varying downward angles, which you must know to actually measure the true distance the ball travels.

Fortunately, Eric Seidman at Baseball Prospectus has done the hard work for us with Chris Young. In a 2009 article, he estimates that Young appears to throw 6.7 miles per hour faster to hitters than the radar gun indicates.

Combine this bump with Chris Young’s 86.2 average fastball speed this season, and the KC Royals hurler looks like he’s throwing 92.9 MPH. At least, it seems that way to the hitter at home plate.

Next: Chris Young Has A Deceptive Pitching Motion