Does Mixing Pitch Speeds Help Pitchers Succeed?

That’s a nice tongue-twister. Over at The Hardball Times I riff on an Evan Longoria / Chris Sale story to investigate whether pitchers who mix speeds of individual pitches do better than those who don’t.

Longoria describes a plate appearance against Chris Sale that featured a variety of same-pitch speeds and resulted in Longoria striking out. I read this section and I wondered: How important is varying the release speed of individual pitches? Do pitchers who vary these speeds have more success than others? Longoria implies that this skill is part of what makes Sale successful.

(Photo by Keith Allison. Yeah, I know Sale’s on a different team now … 🙂)