The Shapes and Sizes of MLB Pitcher’s in 2023

Happy Opening Day Baseball Fans

Here’s a look at the wide variety of shapes and sizes of the athletes that we will see on the mound this year.

First, let’s take a look at this scatter plot of the height and weight of every pitcher on an MLB 40-man roster


Here are the average scores of the 660 (ish) pitchers listed on the 40-man roster for each MLB organization

1.Height – 74.6 inches (6’2.6”)

2.Weight – 210 lbs

3.BMI – 26.6

Here’s an average-looking guy: Jose Urena of the Rockies

Max and Min

1. Height – 6’8” & 5’7” (difference of 13 inches)

*if Sean Hjelle gets called up by the Giants his 6’11” frame changes that to 16 inch difference.

2. Weight – 285 & 160lbs (difference of 125lbs)

3. BMI – 35.9 & 19.4 (difference of 16.6)


One of the few guys listed at 6’8” – Tyler Wells @ 260 lbs

Again, if Sean Hjelle gets called like he did last fall he easily becomes the tallest pitcher.  The tallest of all time.  We are inching our way closer and closer to seeing a 7-footer toe the rubber


Marcus Stroman is the shortest player in the MLB.  He’s 7.6 inches shorter than league average.

He’s 5’7” but he tips the scales at 180 lbs.

Another elite athlete, Matt Bush, is the second shortest at 5’9”.


Here’s Reiver Sanmartin at 160lbs and his average height of 6’2”


This year’s title goes to the Blue Jay’s Opening starter Alek Manoah @ 285 lbs and 6’6”

The mechanics these athletes use have to differ based on their shape and size yet they can all produce MLB stuff. Learn more about how these differences play out in my free e-book.

Here’s to a great 2023 baseball season

Graeme Lehman, MSc, CSCS

Shohei Othani’s Sprinting Power

Everyone in the world knows that Shohai Othani is powerful. Hitting massive bombs and throwing triple-digit fastballs makes it obvious that this guy can transfer more power to baseball than anyone else in the world. His formula to create power, kinetic energy, in this case, is better than anyone else.

His ability to make the ball go 100 mph or more both throwing and hitting makes it safe to say that he has mastered the art and science of producing rotational power.

Today I wanted to focus on the power he produces in a linear fashion. It’s amazing to watch him sprinting around the bases. Here’s a 4 min long video of Ohtani’s sprinting ability. Statcast has his sprint speed at the elite level of 30 feet per second (20.5 mph). That’s fast but it doesn’t give us an idea of just how powerful he is when he’s sprinting.

Rotational power for baseball is always measured in miles per hour. This is actually just a velocity and not technically power since the mass of the object isn’t taken into consideration. Since the mass of a 5 oz baseball is constant up until we reach the speed of light we don’t have to factor it in.

Sprinting is different. Everyone’s weight is going to differ so we need to factor it into our equation. This is why we need something that like the kinetic energy formula to give us an idea of how much power Ohtani can produce running as fast as is and weighing as much as he does.

Let’s look at his speed as he legs out this infield hit in the WBC final when he hit a ground ball to one of the very few guys in the league that are faster than him, Trea Turner at 31.2 ft/sec.

To give you an idea of how powerful Ohtani is when he’s running I compared him to the speedy Trea Turner.

Here’s a chart that calculates their Kinetic Energy by figuring out their velocity in meters per second and body weight in kilograms.

Ohtani is producing a ton of Power. There’s a difference of 159.2 Joules (unit of power) between these two. That difference would be felt if you were standing on top of first base and got run over by each of these elite athletes going all out. Ohtani, carrying 210lbs at 20.45 mph, would hurt that much more than Turner’s 185lbs going slightly faster at 21.3 mph.

These power numbers are off the charts. Here is how Ohtani would look on my Pitcher’s Physical Profile system with that much sprinting power

He is way off the charts. His score for the 30-yard dash power (lower right-hand corner) just dives off the chart that I’ve put together. I knew that he’d be at the top level but not by this much.

But then I remembered that the 30ft/sec is his peak speed. He wasn’t going that fast out of the box. He had to accelerate up to that speed. We typically measure average speed rather than peak. Measuring the average speed is a lot easier if you don’t have laser timers to take split times. All we need to know is how long it took him to go from point A to point B.

For this, we will use his home-to-first times, the distance (90ft/30 yards), and their body weight.

Here he is going home to first in 4.07 sec beating out a ground ball to the first baseman.

Obviously, Ohtani has an advantage in this type of sprint being a lefty. Nevertheless, it is really impressive. The chart below shows the exact numbers used to calculate their power.

These numbers from Ohtani are more in line with what I have seen in the past and have been used as a reference range in my pitcher’s physical profile system.

He’s still almost off the chart which is what you’d expect from the best baseball athlete in the world.

If you are looking at how this information can be used to help you or your pitchers then I would say that:

1 – sprinting is important: even if you don’t run the bases it is an amazing training tool

2 – mass is important: try to carry as much useful mass as possible.

So simply put, be sure that you are doing some sprints as part of your training and eat enough food to keep the needle moving. I would suggest using this same equation to track your progress with a 30-yard dash. Here’s the formula in more detail.

And this is how I calculate Ohtani’s average power using this home-to-first speed

Watching your power output is great because you might gain weight but not improve your sprint time. If you only looked at the speed you would be disappointed in your lack of progress. But this formula will show that you did in fact improve because you are moving more mass at that same speed.

If you want to see how you score in the 30-yard dash along with about 10 more metrics all associated with throwing velocity check out my pitchers profile system.

I’ll leave you with one more feat of athletic ability from Ohtan turning a broken bat groundball up the middle into a double


Graeme Lehman

Podcast Interview

The “Behind the Seams” podcast hosted by Nunzio Signore is, in my opinion, one of, if not, the best podcasts out there on the topic of baseball player development. Nunzio asks some great questions and his guest list is top-notch including pitching coaches in the MLB and high-level Division I NCAA.

I was honored to be one of his guests recently and I wanted to share this link so that you can check it out.

Sprinting Ratios & Throwing Velocity – Part 3

In my opinion, sprints should always be a part of any baseball player’s program, even pitchers.  Sprinting is the most primitive form of training and the forces and speed that it creates cannot be replicated in the gym. 

The role of sprinting and how it relates to pitching will be today’s focus.  The inspiration for this article came from this study.  Check out these two pieces (Part 1 and Part 2 ) I’ve already written about this study. 

What they found in this study was that a positive sprint ratio was linked to throwing velocity.  Again, these were adult males around 26 years old at an open tryout for their professional league.

Having a positive sprint ratio meant that your initial 10-meter split time was slow compared to the final 20-meters of the 30-meter dash test.  The first ten yards are considered to be “pure acceleration” while the rest of the test would fall under the “transitional acceleration” classification used in the sprinting world.

The sports scientist would look at these results and say that those who had a fast finish (aka positive sprint ratio) would be more velocity-driven type athletes.  Whereas the athlete who is fast right out of the block would be more force driven with lots of muscular strength that’s needed to start the acceleration process from a dead start.

This is the opposite of what we saw with the jumping ratio.  There, it was the more force-driven athletes who had lower decrements between an unloaded and loaded jump that had a positve link to throwing velocity.

What does this mean?

According to this study, the sprint speeds that you can achieve with a flying start are a better predictor than your speed for the first 10 meters.  Here is how they worded it

“transitional acceleration is more important to pitching velocity than pure acceleration, “

This is one of the first times I’ve ever come across a study that linked throwing velocity to sprinting speeds.  If you’ve been around baseball long enough you know that pitchers aren’t usually the fastest runners on the team.

In a race to third base, I’d bet on the guy not wearing a jacket

This study only tested pitchers specifically. So if in fact, pitchers are slower than position players, then we are looking at who’s the fastest in the slow group which is useful information.

There’s not a lot out there in the research world exploring the link between sprinting and throwing velocity. I know that in the study I conducted, both 10-meter and 60-yard dash times were not correlated to throwing velocity. 

There were a couple of studies with younger subjects that did have a positive correlation.  One study (1) listed the 10-yard dash along with broad jump and grip strength as physical tests that correlated positively to throwing velocity.  These subjects were between the ages of 7 and 15.

And this study (2) stated that out of a dozen or so physical tests, only the 10-meter dash time was linked to throwing velocity for the 15-year-old subjects.  This study looked at baseball players ranging from 12-22 years old but it was only the 15-year-old group that demonstrated this link between sprinting and throwing.

Neither of these last two studies looked at different sprint distances like they did in this study so it’s hard to draw some conclusions.  That being said here’s a potential explanation.

Why does it work?

The specificity of the contraction speed is what I feel has the most carryover.  This was the same when I looked at the jump ratio except this time, I believe it’s specific to the front leg.    The speed at which the front leg reaches its max ground reaction forces (GRF) roughly matches what we see in sprinting.

In a study in 2012 by Werner et al (4). they reported that the front leg reached its maximal vertical GRF about 45 milliseconds after the front foot hit the ground.  This timeline is similar to what you see in sprinting.  Below is a table from a study (3) that used two different models to predict the time it took to reach peak vertical GRF while sprinting.  The “spring-mass” model has the exact same time to peak vertical GRF as the pitching study by Werner.

Models like this are needed to calculate GRF since we can’t measure sprinting on a force plate.  You would need an entire track made out of force plates to get the real numbers.

So, sprinting, with a flying start, might be a good way to train the front leg for the speed and forces that it is going to encounter. Transitional acceleration is what we could call it and here’s where it sits on the force-velocity curve of sprinting drills. During the first 10-meters (aka pure acceleariton) these times would be slower.

How to test

The numbers recorded in the study were taken with electronic gate timers which is really the only way to accurately test short sprints like this.  Stopwatches are much less expensive but you just can’t trust the data.  And if you want to take splits like they did in this study then you have to embrace technology. 

If you do have a set of gate timers then break them out a lot.  The feedback the athlete gets is huge, just like when we are throwing.  If you are timing your sprints on regular basis this becomes a case where testing is training are one and the same which gives you another variable to track your athletes with on a regular basis.   To take it to the next level I’d calculate kinetic energy too just so we take body weight into consideration.

What to shoot for

While looking at the ratios is cool and all we do have to pay attention to the raw numbers themselves.  If an athlete’s positive sprint ratio is a result of a really slow start and less slow finish then we don’t need to make things more complicated.  Start sprinting and get better.  Be sure that your 10-meter time is less than 2 seconds and our 30-meter times are sub 4.6 before entraining the idea of looking into these ratios. The averages in this particular study were 1.82 and 4.05 seconds respectively.

As a reference, I added some more sprinting norms for these particular distances and ages that you can check out below. These are mostly comprised of soccer players.

That’s it for this article. I’m going to tie up some loose ends in part 4 of this series.


Graeme Lehman, MSc, CSCS


  2. Anthropometrics, Athletic Abilities and Perceptual-Cognitive Skills Associated With Baseball Pitching Velocity in Young Athletes Aged Between 10 and 22 Years Old Mathieu Tremblay, Charles Tétreau, Laurie-Ann Corbin-Berrigan and Martin Descarreaux
  5. Mangine GT, Hoffman JR, Frangala MS, Vazquez J, Krause MC, GillettJ and Pichardo N.  Effects of age on anthropometric and physical performance measures in professional baseball players.  Strength Cond Res. 2013 Feb; 27(2); 375-81

Weighted Jumps & Throwing Velocity – Research

Your ability to jump with and without weights might be a crucial clue to finding your velocity recipe. This research by Huang et al. that I covered in part one had some interesting findings that I felt necessary to explore and share.

For a quick refresher here are the 3 factors that contributed to throwing velocity in this study called “Correlation of pitch velocity with anthropometric measurements for adult male baseball pitchers in a tryout setting”.

  1. Height
  2. Positive Jump Ratio between a loaded (44lbs) and unloaded jump
  3. High Sprint Ratio between a 10-meter start and a flying 20-meter time

Let’s quickly define these last two in case you haven’t seen Part 1. The next couple of articles will focus on these ratios.

  1. Positive Jump Ratio: The difference between the loaded and unloaded jump heights was relatively small.  If someone had a big difference between the two types of jumps, they would have a negative jump ratio. 
  2. High Sprint Ratio: to display a high sprint ratio it meant that an athlete had a slower 0–10-meter time split compared to their 10–30-meter time

It’s these ratios that got me interested in this study.  I haven’t seen any that looked at an athlete’s performance in two tests that are similar to one another to create these kinds of ratios in the baseball world.

What this Means

When I first saw these results, they confused me.  The positive jump ratio that was correlated with throng velocity favored those that were more on the force end of the spectrum.  While the high sprint ratio that was also associated with increased MPH favors athletes that live more on the speed end of the spectrum.

These ratios are made up of two similar tests.  One test has more of an emphasis on speed while the other is on force.  Remember that Force x Speed = Power

With the jumps, the loaded jump relies more on force while the unloaded jump leans on speed.

When it comes to sprinting, the first 10 meters of a sprint require lots of force whereas the last 20 meters are more reliant on speed.

So, you can see why these results were a little confusing.  One would think that if being a more forceful jumper was positive the same would be true when it came to sprinting.  But it wasn’t.

What these results show me is how as a pitcher you need to have both speed and force to create as much power as possible. If you think about it, the act of pitching covers this whole spectrum.  We need a lot of force to initiate the delivery, in a controlled fashion, and as the delivery progresses you start to move faster and faster until the ball is launched out of your hand. 

Since throwing a baseball requires both strength and speed, I’m going to dive into each of these ratios to see what we can learn.

Jump Ratio

If you can jump pretty high with a load as compared to without a load, you can consider yourself to be “strong” as long as the jump weights are fairly high.  If an athlete for example has a loaded jump of 8.5 inches and an unloaded jump of 10 inches then we don’t need to calculate their jump ratio since, in this case, it doesn’t matter.  This particular athlete just needs to find their way into a gym.

Being “strong” like this means that you’re good at accelerating some weight in a fast manner.  You would find this kind of “strong” in the middle of a force-velocity.

Back in 2009, some pretty big names in the exercise science world conducted a study that supports the idea that strong athletes have a positive jump ratio between loaded and unloaded jumps.  Dr’s Greg Haff and Michael Stone were part of a team that ran 63 Division I athletes through a series of tests that included loaded and unloaded jumps.  They also used an isometric mid-thigh pull test which they used to determine which subjects were the strongest.

Those that had lower decrements (aka positive jump ratio) between the loaded and unloaded jumps were the strongest.

To explain why these results occurred the way they did the researchers quoted Newton’s second law which “indicates that greater forces will result in greater acceleration”.  Pitching is all about acceleration.  This is the kind of strength that you need to your body moving and accelerating from 0-60, so to speak.

The ability to get off the ground with an extra 44 lbs in your hands is a great asset to have on the mound during the 1st half of our delivery. 

Why does this Correlate with Throwing Velocity?

The reason that a positive jump ratio can be linked with higher throwing velocity, in my opinion, is due to specificity. 

Normally when we think of specificity, we tend to assume that the movements have to look similar.  In this case, these two movements aren’t even in the same ballpark.  Loaded jumps are performed with both legs and the emphasis is to jump vertically.  This looks nothing like the act of pitching.

So how can I say that specificity is the reason that it relates to throwing velocity?

The specificity that I am referring to is the muscle contraction, namely its speed.

Jumping off two legs with an extra 44 lbs takes about the same time and force as it does to jump laterally off of one leg.  They would have to be some type of study to confirm this but my eyes tell me that they are at least close to one another. 

How to do this Test

Vertical jump testing is awesome.  But it’s only awesome if you have an accurate way of testing it both quickly and repeatably.  These researchers in the baseball study used a Gymaware. This type of machine is a linear position transducer.  It’s basically a cable that you attach to a harness or belt and then jump.  The cable, which doesn’t produce any resistance, measures the speed and distance that the cable moved as a result of the jump. 

These units are around $2000 but you can also attach them to barbells for example to measure bar speed for Velocity-Based Training,

Less Expensive Options

#1 – MyJump App: The study mentioned that the MyJump app ($20) would be a suitable option. This does take some extra time since you have to watch the video in super slow-motion to pick the frames when the athlete leaves and then returns to the ground. In a group setting this doesn’t work very well.

#2 – Balloon Headbutt: this is an idea I came up with that works really well, is super simple, and is very cost-effective.

All you do is suspend a balloon from a string that’s attached to the ceiling. Have the athlete stand under the balloon and measure the distance between the balloon and their head.  The goal is to jump high enough to headbutt the balloon.  The balloon is simply raised little by little until they fail.  Record their max height along with the amount of load in their hands. *Jumping to a target produces better jump results compared to saying “jump as high as you can”.*

The multiple jump attempts will make it into more of a workout but that’s okay since it could double as a training session.

Testing is Training & Training is Testing

If you want to get better at this particular test, I would suggest you practice it.  By testing (aka measuring) yourself every couple of weeks you would most likely see some positive adaptations. 

These jumps do a great job of filling a common gap in an athlete’s force-velocity curve.  A lot of times I’ll see online that a young pitcher’s training consists mostly of exercises at the far left side of the curve with slow but heavy movement and then some on the far right side at high speeds.

Weighed jumps are a great fit into any pitcher’s routine because they fill an important gap in the Force-Velocity curve. I wrote a whole chapter on weighted jumps in my e-book that you can check out if you want to dig deeper.

Here are a couple of remote athletes performing some weighted jumps over 5 years ago.

This is Nate Pearson jumping with a trap bar. This version is great. Below is an athlete that I trained for years using demonstrating a 45 lbs loaded jump using the front squat position.

Typically, I put these into the workout after a full warm-up that needs to include some low-level jumps and/or sprints. These kinds of exercises ideally are performed in that 2-5 rep range with adequate rest, about 2-3 min. Frequency wise you could do them as little as once every two weeks or as much as three times a week on non-consecutive days. In my opinion, of course.

What are some numbers to shoot for?

Here are the averages produced by the subjects in the studies that I mentioned

Baseball Study using Gymaware

  • Unloaded 17″/43cm: hands-on-hips
  • Loaded 13.75″/35cm: 10 kg dumbbell in each hand (44 lbs total)

College Athletes (NCAA D1) – using a force plate. 42 females and 21 males

  • Unloaded Jump: 13.2″/33.5 cm with PVC pipe across shoulders
  • Loaded Jump: 10.8″/27.5 with a barbell across shoulders (back squat style)

Jumping with a barbell on your back or weights in your hands has a bit of a learning curve. Especially the landing, so progress up to these kinds of weights.

If you can reach the mid to upper 20″ with a hands-on-hips jump and 80% of that with DBs in your hands I’d say you are doing pretty good. Good enough that you could probably spend more time doing other things that you aren’t as good at since you probably be seeing some diminishing rates of return at this point.

Is More Better?

I can see it right now. Some well-meaning teenage pitcher thinks that if jumping with 45 lbs is good then jumping with 90 lbs must be twice as good. This is not the case. If you try to jump with too much weight you won’t get the same benefit. More is not always better. Aim for a minimum of 10 inches on any loaded jump. If you can’t get more than 10 inches away from the ground then you’re moving too slowly and you’re working a different part of the curve.

Let’s end things here for now. Next time, we will look at the sprint ratio in more depth.

Until then, happy jumping

Graeme Lehman, MSc, CSCS


Correlation of pitching velocity with anthropometric measurements for adult male baseball pitchers in tryout settings
Jyh How Huang 1, Szu-Hua Chen 2, Chih Hui Chiu 3.

The relationship between strength characteristics and unweighted and weighted vertical jump height. Kraska JM, Ramsey MW, Haff GG, Fethke N, Sands WA, Stone ME, International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2009, 4, 461-473