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View Full Version : Thin air and Fastballs?


Tekijawa
06-07-2005, 10:08 AM
I was wondering why the Rockies wouldn't go out and just get a bunch of guys who threw the hardest in the league? If the thin air effects breaking pitches because there isn't as much resistance wouldn't that actually enhance a Flame throwers ability and maybe add a few MPH to that heater? if 101mph is darn near impossible to hit, imagine what 102 or 103 would get you? Am I right in my thinking?

voodoochile
06-07-2005, 10:15 AM
I was wondering why the Rockies wouldn't go out and just get a bunch of guys who threw the hardest in the league? If the thin air effects breaking pitches because there isn't as much resistance wouldn't that actually enhance a Flame throwers ability and maybe add a few MPH to that heater? if 101mph is darn near impossible to hit, imagine what 102 or 103 would get you? Am I right in my thinking?

You won't see more speed, but you might see slightly less loss of speed. Baseballs are always fastest the minute they leave the hand and there just isn't enough resisitance in any wind (short of a gale) to cause arm speed to diminish significantly and cause the ball to be slower out of the hand.

But even the loss of speed as the ball approaches home plate will be only minimally changed. Baseballs are highly aerodynamic and the distance they travel is too short for a few milibars of pressure to make that much difference.

Tekijawa
06-07-2005, 10:18 AM
Jut re-read the post... and I agree. That would make a fastballer a better option up there than a sinkerballer who's sinkerball no longer sinks...

ondafarm
06-07-2005, 10:26 AM
I do think power pitcher tend to do their best at Colorado. The 'best' pitcher for Coors would throw high 90s with a hard slider and a good change up or two (circle and straight.) The slider (or the shootoh) both change direction because of 'wobble' in the ball and don't depend on air resistance, the curve and knuckleball definately require air resistance. The cutter should also be fine.

On the Sox, the most effective guys are probably, Vizcaino (sliders), Marte (sliders) Buehrle (change, fastball and cutter), Garcia (fastball, slider, change) and Hermanson (his shootoh should be devastating at high altitude when combined with his slider and fastball.)

D. TODD
06-07-2005, 10:30 AM
I was impressed with Freddy Garcia's Big hook at Coors Field. He seemed to have no problem breaking off curves in the high altitude! Preston Wilson sure looked sick on benders.

samram
06-07-2005, 11:25 AM
A couple of things. First, major league hitters will hit fastballs, no matter the velocity, if that's all a pitcher has- see Farnworth, Kyle. Second, as ondafarm mentioned, changing speeds is the key to success in that park. Freddy had a great change working last night and threw one of the best games in the history of that park. There were a ton of bad looking swings.

Frater Perdurabo
06-07-2005, 11:53 AM
We also have to remember that although the difference in Denver's altitude does affect air pressure and therefore resistance, the level of effect isn't quite as significant as the hyperbole of some would lead us to believe. For goodness sake, some treat it as though Coors Field sits atop the Himalayas or on the moon! From the level of attention the difference in altitude gets, one would think 600-foot home runs are an everyday occurrence.

Chicago itself is almost 600 feet above sea level, so the difference between Denver and Chicago is smaller than between, say, Denver and Seattle or Denver and San Diego, for example.

Dr. Robert Adair (author of The Physics of Baseball) estimates that a fly ball hit 400 feet near sea level would, if hit equally hard, travel about 420 feet in Denver. Thus, it is (somewhat) easier to hit a home run over the center field wall at Coors Field (415 feet) than at a typical near-sea-level stadium with a 400-foot distance to center field. The biggest impact on play, however, is not so much the greater number of home runs as the increased opportunity for triples, given the long distances to those corners.

The corners are 350 to right and 347 to left. That has as much to do with the high run totals at Coors as the increased number of home runs.

The longest homerun at Coors is 496 feet by Mike Piazza on 9/26/97. Larry Walker is second at 493 on 8/31/97

In comparison, Borchard crushed the longest homer at the Cell at 504 feet and Frank has the second longest at 495 feet. Surely each of these blasts would have traveled farther at Coors, but still nowhere close to 550 feet. Might the Rockies trade Helton for LTP? :redneck

Huisj
06-07-2005, 11:58 AM
I do think power pitcher tend to do their best at Colorado. The 'best' pitcher for Coors would throw high 90s with a hard slider and a good change up or two (circle and straight.) The slider (or the shootoh) both change direction because of 'wobble' in the ball and don't depend on air resistance, the curve and knuckleball definately require air resistance. The cutter should also be fine.

On the Sox, the most effective guys are probably, Vizcaino (sliders), Marte (sliders) Buehrle (change, fastball and cutter), Garcia (fastball, slider, change) and Hermanson (his shootoh should be devastating at high altitude when combined with his slider and fastball.)

I guess I don't see how a slider would still break while a curveball wouldn't. What do you mean by 'wobble'? How does a slider not rely on air resistance to break? It still uses the spin of the ball to cause it to move, and the way it does this is by air pressure differences on different sides of the ball. It doesn't seem like any breaking pitch would break as much in thin air as it would in normal air. I'd argue that guys with good cutters or sinkers would get as much cut or sink either in colorado.

Huisj
06-07-2005, 12:01 PM
We also have to remember that although the difference in Denver's altitude does affect air pressure and therefore resistance, the level of effect isn't quite as significant as the hyperbole of some would lead us to believe. For goodness sake, some treat it as though Coors Field sits atop the Himalayas or on the moon! From the level of attention the difference in altitude gets, one would think 600-foot home runs are an everyday occurrence.

Chicago itself is almost 600 feet above sea level, so the difference between Denver and Chicago is smaller than between, say, Denver and Seattle or Denver and San Diego, for example.



The corners are 350 to right and 347 to left. That has as much to do with the high run totals at Coors as the increased number of home runs.



In comparison, Borchard crushed the longest homer at the Cell at 504 feet and Frank has the second longest at 495 feet. Surely each of these blasts would have traveled farther at Coors, but still nowhere close to 550 feet. Might the Rockies trade Helton for LTP? :redneck

Wouldn't the smaller amount of movement on pitches almost seem to have more to do with the offense increase than the increased distance that a batted ball travels?

gobears1987
06-07-2005, 12:09 PM
breaking pitches are no problem if you are a good pitcher. See Freddy Garcia's curves last night if you doubt me.