MLB pitcher finds wild way to throw 116.9 mph


Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer is known for being innovative on the mound.

Bauer has thrown at least 19 different pitches, including some he has claimed to invent, like the reverse slider, which is a harder version of a screwball, and “the bird,” a splitter thrown with the middle finger raised, according a profile Sports Illustrated did on him a few years ago.

Even with the most straight forward of all pitches, the fastball, he gets creative.

A video surfaced this week of Bauer throwing a 116.9 mile per hour fastball, the fastest recorded by Driveline Baseball, a pitching training facility near Seattle.

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But he didn’t throw it the traditional way. Instead, Bauer got a running start and hurled a smaller, 3-ounce baseball. A regulation major league baseball is 5 ounces.

There’s a name for the type of pitch Bauer threw — it’s called a pulldown.

“Pulldowns, otherwise known as Running Throws, Crow Hop throws, or Run ‘n Guns, are max-effort throws with a running start thrown in the off-season,” Driveline explains on its website.

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“At Driveline, we have athletes throw pulldowns once a week in a standard progression using 3-7-oz weighted baseballs,” it says.

Pulldowns are a staple of Driveline’s offseason program.

“We see them as vital pieces to train athletes to handle the stresses of pitching. But, like everything, they can be misunderstood when not done in the proper context,” Driveline says.

Driveline is not something that has been widely accepted across the baseball world, but it is growing in popularity.

It also promotes long-toss training, which is a method that involves throwing the ball long distances to help with velocity.

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Both Bauer and Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy are proponents of long-toss training.

The 26-year-old Bauer is coming off his best season in the majors in 2017 when he went 17-9 with a 4.19 ERA.

Bauer generally throws his fastball in the mid-90s, so it’ll be interesting to see if these unusual methods lead to improved performance in 2018.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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