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A final look at velocity changes and inning counts for the A’s

Who was up and who was down in both velocity and inning counts.

Let's jump right in! Your velocity gainers and losers for starters, in addition with who gained significant innings.

Starters 2015 Average 2016 Average Change from 2015 Average 2014 Innings 2015 Innings 2016 Innings
Sonny Gray 94.2 93.66 -.54 219 208 117
Kendall Graveman 91.59 93.53 1.94 167.1 140 186
Sean Manaea - 93.32 - 121.2 100 165.2
Zach Neal - 90.37 - 165.1 167.2 131.2
Ross Detwiler 93.48 93.12 -.34 63 62 134.2
Andrew Triggs - 91.32 - 62 61 74.2
Dillon Overton - 89.2 - 37 126 150
Chris Bassitt 93.74 93.06 -.68 43 157 28 (TJS)
Raul Alcantara - 94.08 - 19.1 (TJS) 50.2 158
Jharel Cotton - 92.92 - 126.2 95.2 165
Jesse Hahn 93.15 95.10 1.95 115.2 96.2 113
Daniel Mengden - 93.12 - 22 130.2 170.1

The velocity losers

Sonny Gray

I'd posit that some of the velocity change was an effort to control his stuff in the many times of lost command. Still, it's not great to see a drop in velocity, especially since he's a guy who worried us in the injury department. Gray ended the year about a half MPH down from 2015, and that's without the stress of a full workload stretching into the dog days of summer.

Chris Bassitt

His velocity was down, then he went down. Come back strong, Chris.

The gainers

Kendall Graveman

After an up and down year, there are lots of reasons to be bullish on Graveman. His improved velocity is one of those, and that velocity is undoubtedly tied to his new repertoire. That should help him be a little more consistent going forward, and more speed is always a good thing.

Jesse Hahn

Ok, maybe more speed isn't always a good thing. Hahn came out throwing gas this year, routinely hitting 97 in his typically short starts. That led to almost no success, mainly cause he had no clue where the ball was going, but if there's a positive to takeaway from Hahn it's this: he's clearly got the arm to succeed.

Some rookie trends

Comparing velocities by season is an increasingly useless task when more and more pitches are rookies, and therefore lack the data to compare. We can look in season to see some trends, though, in addition to comparing existing numbers to scouting reports.

Sean Manaea

Throughout the year, we were routinely disappointed by Manaea's velocity. His fastball often sat in the low 90's, as opposed to the upper 90's we'd heard he'd hit, and the results were ugly early in the year. His fastball velocity actually dipped as the year went on but his results improved and Manaea had an excellent rookie campaign.

Dillon Overton

Sadly, it's probably safe to say the velocity Overton lost to Tommy John Surgery isn't returning. He did have a small spike in September, likely as a way to combat his terrible start at the big league level. If he is to succeed, it will be thanks to improved command in spite of his lacking fastball.

Daniel Mengden

In spite of a tough stint at the major league level, it was a successful year for Mengden overall. His velocity was up, peaking at 95 and averaging 93, up from 93 and 90 respectively a year prior.

On inning counts

Coming into 2016, there was major concern over how the A's would cover innings with a young staff, lacking pitchers with the track record to handle the rigors of a major league season. As it turned out, none of that mattered much. The A's were out of the race by July, and the quality of how the innings were eaten had no impact on the A's postseason standing.

Fortunately, inning counts shouldn't be a huge issue in 2017, health provided. Coming into this year, the A's had just two pitchers (Gray and Graveman) who were locks to handle a full season. Next year, the A's will have nine guys who can definitely take on a full workload.

The A's also have a few guys of the Jesse Chavez mold - effective as a starter, but lacking in stamina to last a full season. Those guys are still quite valuable, though they do require a touch more planning. How the A's will deploy Andrew Triggs and, if he's still around, Jesse Hahn, will be an important story-line in 2017.

Looking at this year's inning counts also gives us an interesting glimpse into the A's viewpoint on the matter. Pitcher injuries are becoming more and more of an issue, and teams are trying different things to combat them. There is of course, no hard science to the matter and it appears the A's aren't overly concerned about inning caps - four pitchers in the organization shot well past their previous inning count highs.

The relievers

Relievers 2015 Average 2016 Average Change from 2015 Average
John Axford 96.54 96.60 .06
Ryan Madson 94.94 95.42 .48
Liam Hendriks 95.63 95.20 -.43
Ryan Dull 91.76 91.54 -.22
Daniel Coulombe 90.25 92.12 1.87
Sean Doolittle 93.15 95.57 2.42

The losers

Liam Henriks

What started out as a disappointing year ended on a high note for the Australian righty. Part of his slow start was likely injury related, and after his return from a tricep injury, his average fastball velocity increased by just a shade under two full miles per hour. He was a stud for most of the year and should be a great pitcher next season, with an average velocity well above his 2016 average.

Ryan Dull

Dull's workload was actually lighter this year than it was a year ago, though I'd guess the way he was used was more stressful this season. All in all, a great year for Dull though the velocity is something to keep an eye on. He can't afford to give up much in that department.

The gainers

Ryan Madson

The decision to give a reliever with a lengthy injury history a three year contract was a curious one last offseason. Madson's 2016 didn't go exactly as planned, mainly thanks to his proclivity to give up the longball. It is a positive to see his velocity jump further - health was always a question mark coming into the year. There's no reason to think he can't be an effective reliever over the next two years.

Sean Doolittle

Doo might not be the completely dominant reliever he was earlier in his career, but he's still very good and with an extremely team friendly contract, he's an absolute asset. The return of his fastball was a welcome relief, and he proved he's still got ample gas in the tank.

Daniel Coulombe

Good relievers frequently come from random places (see: Sean Doolittle), and Daniel Coulombe has the stuff to be that guy. With the added fastball velocity, he's got a little more room to err though his bread and butter will always be his nasty offspeed stuff. Still, good to see the bump and you'll likely see Coulombe more and more over the coming year.

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Who are you most worried about for next year? Who are you excited about? How should the A's approach pitching in the offseason