Pitch Tempo


Pitch tempo refers to how much time a pitcher takes between pitches. The Pitch Tempo leaderboard on Baseball Savant shows which MLB pitchers work the fastest, and the slowest.

Statcast's pitch tempo metric is defined as the median time between pitches -- in other words, a pitcher's time from one pitch release to the next pitch release.

Only pitches that follow a take (a called strike or called ball) and are thrown to the same batter are considered for the pitch tempo metric. Two tempo stats are calculated for every pitcher: the pitcher's tempo with the bases empty, and his tempo with runners on base.

To provide added context to a pitcher's tempo, any pitch thrown within 15 seconds is classified as "Fast," and any pitch thrown after longer than 30 seconds is classified as "Slow."

It is important to note that Statcast's pitch tempo metric is NOT the same as the MLB pitch timer that was instituted in 2023.

  • The pitch timer at MLB games starts when the pitcher receives the return throw from the catcher and ends once the pitcher starts his delivery.
  • The pitch tempo stat measures simply the time between pitch releases, with the clock starting as soon as the pitcher releases one pitch and ending when the pitcher releases the next pitch.

The Pitch Tempo leaderboard does provide a "pitch timer equivalent" for every pitcher, which approximates how fast that pitcher works under the pitch timer.

A pitcher's timer equivalent is the amount of time he pitcher takes, on average, from when he receives the return throw and the pitch timer starts to when he begins his delivery and the pitch timer ends.

About six seconds typically elapses from a pitcher's "start of delivery" to "receiving the return throw": 1.5 seconds for the pitcher to release the pitch, 0.5 seconds for the pitch to travel from pitcher to catcher and 4 seconds for the ball to return from the catcher back to the pitcher.

Therefore, the pitcher's timer equivalent on the Pitch Tempo leaderboard is the difference between those six seconds and the pitcher's tempo.

How to read the Pitch Tempo leaderboard:

"Brent Suter's tempo with the bases empty in 2022 was 12.6 seconds between pitches, making him the fastest-working pitcher in MLB when no one was on base."

"Kenley Jansen's tempo with runners on base in 2022 was 31.3 seconds between pitches, making him the slowest-working pitcher in MLB with runners on."