Price’s greatest concern is his drop in velocity. His fastball typically sits around 94-95 MPH, but this year it’s been averaging 91.8 MPH. It’s not uncommon for power pitchers to take time to ramp up to their peak velocity, so Price’s fastball has always been a tick slower in April. Except this year his velocity has started out even lower than it normally does and still hasn’t jumped up to the mid-90’s level we expect after seven starts.
"“The more velocity that you have, the more mistakes you can get away with,” explained Price. “Right now I’m not getting away with mistakes.”"
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Price is still capable of mowing down opposing lineups, but every mistake is more costly when he isn’t able to overpower hitters with his fastball. When you make a mistake over the plate throwing 95, it’s a lot harder for most hitters to take advantage. If you miss in the same spot throwing 91, big league hitters are going to make you pay.
Price’s struggles may start with the mechanical flaw that Pedroia noticed, but they are compounded by the loss of velocity. The first issue is correctable, so a slight adjustment to his delivery should result in better execution of his pitches. If this leads to less mistakes then it won’t matter as much what his fastball clocks in at.
Next: Is this the start of a decline phase?