How Fast Are Baseball Pitches?

Pitching in baseball is hard. And it’s not just the physical act of throwing a round object really fast. It’s the science and the art of deceivement.


A pitcher’s fastball is one of the most important weapons in baseball. It is also one of the hardest pitches to hit. But just how fast is a fastball?

The speed of a fastball depends on several factors, including the pitcher’s arm strength, his hand size, and his mechanics. The average major league fastball is between 90 and 95 miles per hour (mph). Some pitchers can throw up to 100 mph or more.

One of the fastest pitchers in baseball history was Nolan Ryan. He was clocked at 100.9 mph in 1974, which is believed to be the record for the fastest pitch ever thrown in a major league game. Roger Clemens holds the record for the fastest pitch ever by a Boston Red Sox pitcher. He was clocked at 98.1 mph in 1996.

Not all pitchers rely on speed to get hitters out, however. There are many successful pitchers who throw slower than average fastballs. These pitchers make up for their lack of speed with good control and movement on their pitches. Tim Wakefield, for example, is a knuckleball pitcher who tops out at around 84 mph but has had a long and successful career with the Red Sox.

The Fastest Pitches in Baseball

In baseball, speed thrills. Fastballs get hit a long way, and they also tend to create more strikeouts. That’s why pitchers who can dial up the velocity are so prized.

The average fastball in the majors this season is clocked at 92 mph, according to FanGraphs. That’s a hair faster than last year and about 2 mph quicker than in 2008. To put those numbers in context: Only 10 years ago, the average fastball was just 88 mph.

But of course, not all fastballs are created equal. Some pitchers throw much harder than others — and a few flamethrowers can reach truly astonishing speeds. Here are the 10 fastest pitches in baseball this season, according to Statcast:

The Average Pitch Speed in Baseball

So how fast does the average pitcher throw a baseball? The average fastball velocity for all MLB pitchers was 92.5 mph in 2019, according to Statcast. That’s down slightly from 2018 (92.9 mph) and 2017 (93.0 mph).

The average pitch speed by player position in 2019:

-Starters: 91.8 mph
-Relievers: 94.0 mph
-Catchers: 88.5 mph
-Infielders: 86.9 mph
-Outfielders: 85.2 mph

How to Increase Your Pitch Speed

Assuming you have a good pitching mechanics, here are five ways to increase your pitching velocity:

1. Increase Your Stride Length
One of the easiest ways to add velocity is to increase your stride length. By taking a longer stride towards home plate, you’ll be able to generate more momentum, which will lead to higher velocities.

2. Use Pronation Drills
Pronation is the act of rotating your forearm so that your palm faces downward. This is an important part of the pitching process as it allows for better ball control and added velocity. To improve your pronation, try using a tennis ball or playing catch with a partner using only your non-dominant hand.

3. Incorporate Leg Drive
When most people think about increasing their pitch speed, they only focus on arm strength. However, leg drive is just as important, if not more so. By pushing off with your legs and “drives” towards home plate, you’ll be able to tap into lower body power, which can lead to greater velocities.

4. Use a Heavy Ball
Throwing a heavy ball is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to increasing pitch speed. By using a heavier ball during training, you’ll be able to improve arm strength and build up the muscles needed to throw harder pitches during games.

5. Try Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are often used by physical therapists to help patients recover from arm injuries. However, they can also be used to help pitchers increase their velocity. By attaching resistance bands to a wall or pulley system and performing various pitching motions, you’ll be able add resistance to your throws and develop stronger arm muscles in the process.


Overall, the average fastball pitcher throws between 89-95 miles per hour, with the majority of pitchers throwing right around 91 MPH. There are always outliers who throw significantly harder or slower, but this is generally the range for most Major League fastball pitchers. Secondary pitches (usually a curveball, slider, or changeup) are typically thrown 5-10 MPH slower than fastballs.

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