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Bartolo Colon: Velocity Profiling

With Bartolo Colon having been selected for the All-Star Game, and being recognized as the leader of the staff, it’s time to take a look at some of his pitch selections. Also, Brooks Baseball has a cool new look, so it’s time for pretty graphs.

King Toad
King Toad
Justin K. Aller

First, let's look at last night's start. Here are his pitch statistics from Brooks:

Pitch Type

Avg Speed

Max Speed


FA (Fourseam)




SI (Sinker)




CH (change)




SL (Slider)




Impressively, he nearly hit 97 on the gun and averaged 94.5 with his fourseam. How does this compare to his totals by start though?



Notice how his velocity points profile together. In other words, when he's throwing harder, he's throwing everything harder. Indeed, like most starters, his average velocity fluctuates somewhat per start. For comparison's sake, here is Max Scherzer's velocity graph over this season (curve deleted to match Colon's profile).



People have also wondered about Colon's average velocity this season compared to last season. Well, let's see.



Granted, this is just velocity, but he's basically throwing the same. Indeed, by raw numbers it's actually kind of spooky how similar he is (Tables from Brooks):

Trajectory and Movement - from 01/01/2013 to 01/01/2014

Pitch Type Count Freq Velo (mph) pfx HMov (in.) pfx VMov (in.) H. Rel (ft.) V. Rel (ft.)
Fourseam 477 28.96% 92.53 -5.60 8.91 -0.95 6.00
Sinker 901 54.71% 89.83 -9.17 4.93 -1.33 5.78
Change 97 5.89% 83.26 -7.57 5.86 -1.33 5.80
Slider 161 9.78% 83.59 1.60 1.23 -1.39 5.91
Cutter 11 0.67% 89.06 -1.67 4.62 -1.55 5.65

Trajectory and Movement - from 01/01/2012 to 01/01/2013

Pitch Type Count Freq Velo (mph) pfx HMov (in.) pfx VMov (in.) H. Rel (ft.) V. Rel (ft.)
Fourseam 572 27.97% 92.47 -5.66 9.38 -1.05 6.09
Sinker 1256 61.42% 90.14 -9.27 4.81 -1.36 5.89
Change 78 3.81% 83.58 -7.79 5.05 -1.38 5.87
Slider 139 6.80% 83.57 1.63 1.52 -1.38 6.09

Other than throwing a few more sliders this year, and fewer sinkers (not by much), he's throwing the same pitches, at the same velocity, with the same break. Obviously, this year, he's having better results.

This isn't meant to say that Colon is or is not doing anything. We don't know. But, it's fun to marvel at a guy who at 40 is pitching like guys 10-15 years his junior and being a model of consistency.

Baseballgirl is pulling double duty tonight, as she will again host the game thread. Another A's win and another Red Sox loss will give them the best record in the AL. They will have their hands full, though, with Pirates phenom Gerrit Cole and his 99-100 MPH heat. Gametime is against 4:05 PM.