Rosenthal not citing velocity as problematic
MILWAUKEE -- Plenty of early-season attention has been paid to Trevor Rosenthal's fastball velocity, which has been a down a tick from his average velocity posted over his first two seasons. However, the Cardinals hardly seemed ready to jump to conclusions after a sample size of six games.
Consider, too, that Rosenthal's drop in velocity is not even the largest among the relievers in the back end of the bullpen. It's been the most scrutinized, though, because of his struggles. Through six games, Rosenthal had allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks in 7 1/3 innings. Four of those runs were scored in the team's recent weekend series against the Cubs.
Rosenthal insists his recent troubles have not been velocity-related. In fact, he said he hadn't even noticed a drop before being asked about it by reporters.
"I think it's just about being able to change speeds and hit locations more so than overall velocity," Rosenthal said. "I feel fine. I feel the same. For me, I've been in a lot of two-strike counts and thrown pitches over the plate, which has done favors for the hitters. That what seems like has hurt me a couple times."
According to fangraphs.com, Rosenthal's average fastball velocity is down to 95.7 mph from 96.4 mph last season. Similarly, Kevin Siegrist has seen a slight drop (95.0 mph in 2013; 94.8 mph in 2014) and Carlos Martinez a more substantial one (97.6 mph in 2013; 96.1 mph in 2014).
The latter hasn't been as obvious because Martinez has faced much less early adversity. In the same way, few pointed out during Rosenthal's strong 2013 campaign that his average fastball velocity was down from 97.4 mph the year before.
"I'd like to think it's not a big deal," manager Mike Matheny said on Monday. "Right now, I think they all feel good. That's going to be part of it. And as they keep moving, that velocity could be something we see continue to jump up. We're using them pretty consistently, too. We don't feel like they've been overused yet, but they've been used quite a bit. I think if they continue on their programs they've used in the past, they're still getting use to the rhythm of this season, also."
Asked if the dip could be attributed to this being just the third week of the season, Matheny added, "I can't make that prediction, but I think that's a fair thing to think about."