Before you learn what does FPS mean in baseball and why it’s useful, you need to hear a story I have to say. I promise you it’s relevant, so keep reading.
Here is the baseball game scenario for you to see if you like it. The pitcher just stepped up to the mound. At the same time, the batter got into his hitting stance, looking at the pitchers. Meanwhile, I am kneeling behind in my catcher’s stance, getting ready to signal the pitchers.
We are all ready, and I gave the pitcher the signal for a changeup, and he threw it flawlessly. The batter swung and missed the baseball, which I caught without it hitting my catcher’s gear. That missed hit is a strike for the batter and increases the pitcher’s frame rate, which in turn increases his FPS. Also, the pitch gave us a team win.
While this pitcher stat may seem less important than saying something like ERA or WHIP, it is relevant. In fact, a pitcher stat like FPS in baseball can play a crucial role in helping to identify a good pitcher from a less impressive one.
Table of Contents
What Is FPS In Baseball?
Sadly first pitch strikes in baseball don’t stand for First Person Shooter; instead, it stands for First Pitch Strike. As I said above, this stat increases and decrease whenever the pitcher can get a strike with the first pitch.
According to the book written by JG Ream(1996), the pitch has a plethora of impacts on a pitcher’s baseball statistics. All of which can be both positive and negative. If you need a better point of view, here is something that Ray Miller had to say.
“The first-pitch strike is 90% of the game. If you throw strike one you’ve got five possible pitches left to throw for two strikes” – Ray Miller, Pitching Coach of Pittsburgh Pirates.
From the beginning, if a pitcher can get a strike, he pushes the opposing team. Thereby he will have an easier time getting the other two strikes. While the first pitch strikes or FPS in baseball will only increase the pitcher’s stat, it still benefits the whole team.
While having first pitch strikes is all well and good, pitchers need to know what an excellent first pitch strike is. Also, first pitch strikes come to play on the professional level, not beforehand, so don’t fret about it in lower leagues.
FPS In Baseball Score Essential: Why?
When it comes to the usefulness of first pitch strikes in baseball, we can’t say enough because it’s essential. Here are some basic facts about first pitch strikes in the world of baseball:
- 89.7% of the time, first pitch strikes result in a strike or an out.
- Less than 8% of the time first-pitch strike is a strike or an out
- 69% of all strikeouts is a first pitch strikes
- While 70% of Walks are First Pitch Balls
- Most Major League Baseball batters have a .068% first-pitch strike percentage
Now that you have the proper understanding of what first pitch strike stands for in baseball, it is time for you to understand why it’s so important. Some might say that since it is a stat for pitchers, it will help you find better pitchers, which is why it’s crucial. While that might be somewhat true, that is not all it is about.
Any baseball stat will have more than one implication, whether a baseball pitcher or a baseball hitter. Now FPS or First Pitch Strikes in baseball of a pitcher will show how often he can pressure the opposing team’s batter.
Here are some more stats that will show you just how impactful the first pitch strike is in MLB baseball. Most of these stats came courtesy of Rick Ahlf, Chief Technology Officer at 6-4-3 Charts:
- Percentage of strikeouts due to first pitch strikes: 68%
- Rate of walks thanks to first pitch balls: 70%
- Total first pitch strike percentage: 57%
What Is A Good FPS In Baseball?
Ok, so we know that first pitch strike has importance in baseball, and a good catcher needs to have an excellent first pitch strike. However, what young pitchers need to know now is what constitutes a good first pitch strike in baseball. For that, we need to properly analyze the first pitch strike percentage of the pitchers in your team. Next, what they should do is compare it with those that are above our pitcher in skill level. By doing so, you and your pitcher will understand how much your pitcher needs to improve. Once you have a suitable candidate to compare yourself with, properly analyze his throwing pattern, stance, etc.
Only by doing so can you improve yourself and increase your baseball FPS properly. After knowing a proper method of measuring your first pitch strike against other players, what you need is a higher FPS benchmark. In this case, I will be providing you with an FPS that is average in MLB.
Even though this is the first pitch strike of the professional level players, at least knowing won’t hurt. So most major league baseball pitchers have an average first pitch strike of about 57%. Of that 57%, 97.2% first-pitch strike results in either a strike or an out. But if those MLB pitchers want to help out their teams, they need to increase the average first pitch strike from 57% and closer to 80%.
For anyone with prior knowledge of ERA and FPS in baseball, the connection between the two might be simple. But for those who are just learning about ERA, WHIP, and FPS now from us, it might not be that obvious. This section we are now in is for those that aren’t that knowledgeable about baseball pitcher stats. In simple terms, the pitchers with higher FPS will have a lower ERA because they allow fewer runs. In most cases, stats like FPS don’t care if you wear the best baseball gloves or hit using the best wooden baseball bats.
Best FPS Score Holders
As a baseball fan, I vividly remember when my favorite Red Sox pitchers Nathan “Nitro” Edward Eovaldi threw a first pitch strike a few seasons back. During that baseball game, my sit was optimal for watching the pitchers, and I knew right after he threw that pitch that it was a first pitch strike. When the commentator confirmed my prediction, I jumped up in pleasure.
However, as much as I might want Nitro to break some records, FPS in baseball is one that he might not be able to break. In the world of baseball records, the first pitch strike is one whose records are cemented by three outstanding players. Each of these players has set such FPS records that those records haven’t been broken in decades.
These three players who have made these FPS records in baseball history are Steve Dalkowski, Joel Zumaya, and Walter Johnson. Below I have written a short brief about these players and how they made their FPS records. Out of baseball and softball data, we only used baseball data from baseball.
The man was known as the “White Lightning,” which in it of itself should tell you why he is one of the top first pitch strike record holders. By and large, he is said to be the fastest pitcher in baseball history, but we can’t be sure. Another point to keep in mind he had only a minor league career. Currently, that title properly belongs to the New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman with a recorded pitch of 105.8mph. But many people, some of whom have seen him pitch, say that the man had a pitch closer to 110mph.
Tom Chiappetta, a native from Connecticut, told theguardian once, “He[Steve Dalkowski] had no coaching. No baseball coaching, no life coaching, no coaching of anything. If he’d be coming through baseball now, it’s a whole different world.”
What truly made him earn this spot on the list was his four-seam which he called the “radio pitch.” More about this pitch on how to throw a baseball. Simply put, his four-seam was so fast that batters only heard the pitch never saw it. Can you imagine what would happen he were alive today to pitch something like that? Also what his FPS in baseball might have been?
With a name like “Zoom-Zoom,” you know that this is a pitcher that knew how to throw fast. Over his relatively short but prolific career, this man was able to hit numbers on the radar gun that made more than a few scouts hysterical. During my research on this fantastic pitcher, we found multiple references where his pitches hit the 103mph marker. However, this pitcher had an unpredictable professional baseball career with a W/L count of 13/12 while having played 171 baseball games.
While Zoom Zoom’s career ERA stands at 3.05, he lowered it closer to 2.00 during the high times. Being able to get it as low as he did leave me in complete awe. Sadly a set of increasingly worse injuries forced him out of the baseball game. He retired at an unbelievable age for a baseball player of 36 but left behind some amazing major league records.
He was primarily chosen for his ability to pitch off-speed, but his fielding was terrific as well. Also, he notably fielded 0.176 during the 2006 season while the bases were sometimes fully loaded.
Just for being one of the “Five Immortals,” this man should be celebrated, but more than that, it was the speed he put in his pitch. With the sheer speed he could bring to the mound, he was awarded the nicknamed “The Big Train.” Many players who went against Johnson’s fastball said that his pitches were blisteringly fast. On top of his fastball, he also added a curveball to his arsenal that won him multiple seasons.
But the thing that made Walter Johnson so well known as the number of shutouts he accumulated. By the time he retired from baseball, he had 417 victories, of which 110 were shutouts. Also, he pitched 3,508 strikeouts, making him the first to receive the 3000 career points achievement in 1923. To me, in fact, the crazy part is that he did all of that in just two decades when baseball was still in its infancy. During his time FPS in baseball wasn’t present.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What does FPS mean in Baseball?
FPS or First Pitch Strike is a pitcher stat similar to ERA and WHIP. However, this stat only shows the percentage of times a pitcher is able to get a strike with his first pitch against a batter.
How to increase your FPS% in Baseball?
The best way to go about increasing your FPS is to compare your pitching technique against those with a better stat and skill level. While comparing between each other try to locate the areas that need improving and improve them.
Who are the best record holders for Baseball FPS?
Since none of these players hold an FPS stat that we could compare it was hard finding the best players with an FPS record. But in terms of other stats, these players are truly in a class of their own. So here are three players with a fast arm and are said to hold the best FPS scores:
- Steve “White Lightning” Dalkowski
- Joel “Zoom Zoom” Zumaya
- Walter “The Big Train” Johnson
What is a Good FPS% to have in Baseball?
According to most players below MLB league having an FPS% of 57-60 is more than enough. On the other hand, if you are an MLB pitcher you are encouraged to increase your FPS% from 57% to 80%.
Concluding On What Does FPS Mean In Baseball
Seeing as this is the end of our discussion on what does FPS mean in baseball, I leave all that I have to say is hope you learned something. While FPS in baseball is all about how many times a pitcher can land the first strike against a batter on the first pitch.
Therefore, you should take it somewhat seriously. Overall, FPS is a unique stat that can help you out if you want to find a good pitcher.