He is getting close to the "drop-off zone."
Read up. Fun stuff.
Thanks for the links. They're quite illuminating... and startling. Of course, there are some caveats in each of the articles, such as:
But, of course, there’s true talent and then there are results. Someone like Mike Minor, in particular, could see a true-talent decline and still have better results in the future. No one is is suggesting that every pitcher in the league last year will show worse overall results going forward. The bouncing ball knows no master.
It is especially true for pitchers who have had long careers that they aged well.
I hope that soon the aging curves created using PITCHf/x data will be good enough to help predict things like ERA and strikeouts per game.
So while pitchers will see their true talent level and overall stuff decline from year to year, results don't necessarily decline with them. That's due, in large part, to the fact that pitching is a very cerebral skill. And the rate of decline in things like pitch speed isn't generally alarmingly steep unless someone is injured. Here's what THT had to say on it...
It appears that until pitchers reach 28 or 29, they increase the speed on their fastball by about 1.5 mph. After 29, there is a rather sharp decline in fastball speed.
During the next five years, pitchers lose just over four mph. I am a little surprised that the peak is as old as it is. By the time pitchers are in their late 20s, they have thrown a huge number of pitches and have a lot of wear on their arms. The drop when pitchers turn 30 seems very rapid to me. Because pitchers' aging curves tend to be much flatter than hitters', this rapid decrease must be compensated for by some other factor.
So we're looking at him probably not losing any real velocity in the next three years, and about four mph between in the following five years. In the short term, there isn't much to be concerned about and he likely won't start declining rapidly until he hits the age range we would expect that to happen in anyway. I don't see anything in those three articles to suggest that moving him to the rotation is a bad idea either next year or in the next four or five years.
Sure, he'll decline in his 30's. But so does every other pitcher on the planet.
Edit: Toe Nash was faster with the same point.
Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 08 February 2012 - 01:30 PM.