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Oakland A's velocity changes by month: May

Who threw harder in May compared to April, and who lost miles per hour.

Throwing gas.
Throwing gas.
Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

In April, I made the promise of giving you a tremendously boring post on velocity changes by month. The more boring, the better, as that means there weren't any major dips which often signify injury. Let's check out May.

The averages below are for whatever type of heater corresponds best to said pitcher. For example, Marc Rzepczynski rarely throws a typical four-seam fastball, so his numbers represent the velocity of his sinker. I've listed their average MPH by month and compared April and May in the final column.

Here are the starters:

Starters April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 Sept 2015 2015 Average April 2016 May 2016 Change from April
Sonny Gray 94.25 95.06 94.96 94.13 93.49 92.85 94.2 93.01 93.79 .78
Rich Hill - - - - - 90.5 90.64 91.29 91.49 .20
Kendall Graveman 90.5 92.14 91.2 91.94 91.99 - 91.59 92.76 93.53 .77
Jesse Hahn 93.41 93.27 92.8 93.24 - - 93.15 95.79 95.53 -.26
Sean Manaea - - - - - - - 93.6 93.23 -.37
Eric Surkamp - - - 88.75 - - 88.75 89.51 90.36 .85

And the relievers.

Relievers April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 Sept 2015 2015 Average April 2016 May 2016 Change from April
John Axford 95.39 96.11 96.62 96.36 96.67 97.16 96.54 95.94 97.02 1.08
Ryan Madson 93.68 94.48 94.48 95.13 95.86 96.23 94.94 94.55 95.68 1.13
Sean Doolittle - 90.52 - - 92.1 93.68 93.15 94.56 95.69 1.13
Liam Hendriks 93.62 95.49 95.78 95.47 95.91 96.94 95.63 94.93 95.60 .67
Ryan Dull - - - - - 91.76 91.76 91.24 91.59 .35
Fernando Rodriguez - 94.75 95.35 94.95 94.53 94.25 94.28 93.97 94.17 .2
Marc Rzepczynski 92.32 93.4 92.74 92.38 92.55 92.99 92.73 91.92 92.88 .96

The Gainers

As you'll notice, most everyone is up. That's a good thing but should be expected. Players generally aren't at max velocity in April, they build up to it as the season wears on. Not everyone is of note, but a few players do warrant specific mentions.

Sonny Gray

Gray is on the DL with an injured trapezius, which Wikipedia assures me is a real muscle. You might have noticed the injury via his missing slider, but his velocity didn't hint at anything being wrong. Maybe that's him reaching back to make up for the missing pitch, maybe it shows the injury isn't major. At any rate, Sonny Gray is a major key for the A's going forward and a seamless return from the DL will be huge for the A's, regardless of their place in the standings.

Kendall Graveman

Unfortunately, Graveman was rather terrible last month. He had a few decent outings to end May, but he just wasn't very good in spite of his increased velocity. He seems to be healthy and has the stuff to succeed, but continued failure would be a bad omen for his future.

Sean Doolittle

Doo has been throwing straight gas recently. He's back to his 2013 self and the results agree. Awesome, awesome to see his velocity where it needs to be, and possibly still rising.

The losers

There aren't many losers right now, mainly thanks to our place on the Gregorian Calendar. Let's take a look at the only two.

Sean Manaea

We'd heard reports before that Manaea's velocity varied from start to start, and that looks like it may be true. After a particularly rough outing, I postulated that Manaea may be sacrificing stuff for control, as the formerly wild lefty has had almost no issues with walks in recent starts.

At any rate, his velocity was down some overall in May compared to April, but I don't think it's cause for alarm. In his last start, he was just a few decimal points shy of 97 at his peak. The electric fastball is in there, it's just a question of how often it will rear it's gorgeous head as Manaea continues to adjust to the big leagues.

Jesse Hahn

Hahn's presence in the loser's list is mostly a small sample thing. He made just one start in April and he was throwing darts all game long, possibly adrenaline based or maybe just from feeling good. His velocity is up overall compared to last year, even in spite of the small dropoff from month to month. Compared to 2015, he's up over two miles per hour. That might be thanks to the long period of rest he had, or the nixed slider. Either way, it's good to see.


No major takeaways from this month, and that's a good thing! For June, look for A's pitchers to maintain or even increase their velocity some. Sonny Gray's return from the DL will probably give us the most information from a velocity standpoint, and he should be back soon. Here's to good health for A's pitchers!

*All numbers are from the amazingly fun and helpful website Brooks Baseball.*