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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Mariano Rivera has significant criticism of MLB trend

Mariano Rivera smiling

Mariano Rivera, the MLB Hall of Fame Pitcher, smiles as he delivers comments about the need to give young people good guidance and education during the ribbon cutting of the Mariano Rivera Foundation Mentorship Program that will be housed at the Ignite Life Center in Gainesville Fla. June 2, 2021. MLB Hall of Fame Pitcher Mariano Rivera uses his foundation as a way to give back to communities, and he has put up the money to create a mentorship program that is starting with six youth from the community. Syndication: Brad McClenny/Gainesville Sun

Mariano Rivera is not a huge fan of one trend that has developed across Major League Baseball.

In a radio interview with WFAN’s “Tiki & Tierney” show, Rivera was critical of the focus on velocity among pitchers at the expense of command. Rivera said that velocity alone was not enough to achieve success, and vital elements of pitching are being de-emphasized.

“That’s the situation we’re facing now, because that’s not pitching, that’s throwing,” Rivera said. “Everyone wants to throw as hard as they can, but how long can they sustain it? The name of the game is not to throw as hard as you can. If you can throw hard and throw strikes, that’s a blessing — but if it’s straight or you don’t know where it’s going, how good is that? It will put too much stress on your arm.”

Rivera was also critical of what he sees as an overemphasis on analytics, such as tracking of spin rate. The Hall of Famer said the overreliance on data was the product of people trying to turn players into “a machine.”

Rivera’s criticism of velocity is not necessarily off the mark. An easy way for a young pitcher to be noticed by MLB scouts is if he throws hard, with the assumption that the rest will come later. That does not necessarily happen in every case. The increased emphasis on velocity can also lead to pitcher injuries.

Rivera clearly has an appreciation for pitchers who can combine velocity and location. In his mind, there is not enough of that in the modern game.

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