How hard did Yadier Molina throw that ball last night?

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Still going back and admiring that Yadier Molina putout last night. Just wonderful.

In the post about it I wondered how hard he threw that ball.  There have been at least two attempts at explanations so far.  The first one I saw came from commenter Ryan:

And a radar gun would be way better, but some back-of-the-envelope math suggests he threw it around 85 mph.

distance from home to 2nd base: ~127 feet; the throw was caught a little short and off of 2nd, so ~125 feet
timing with a crappy cellphone stopwatch: ~1.0 seconds from release to catch
125 feet/second = 85 mph

A lot of potential error in the timing measurement, but mid-eighties is probably about right. I wonder any catchers can throw any harder?

Then commenter dan1111 added:

It’s even more impressive when you consider that pitch speed is measured at the release point. 85 mph average over that distance is at least a low 90s fastball.

Another attempt at measuring the velocity came from Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus. Well, smart people he  asked about it, but he published it.  It comes in at a much lower, but still impressive speed: out of the hand at 83, averaging 72 m.p.h.  Click through to see his methodology.

Either way: damn impressive for a catcher who did not have the benefit of a mound, a fully upright position, a big stride and a windup.

Cardinals encourage players not to hide injuries

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In Major League Baseball, players are routinely pressured to play through injury and pain. Sometimes it’s just a minor ache, and sometimes it’s a very serious injury. The pressure comes from everywhere: the players themselves, their peers, coaches, front offices, media, and fans. Players who develop a reputation for landing on the disabled list are described as “soft” and “fragile.” Players who battle through the pain get talked about as “gritty” and “dedicated.”

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are trying to encourage their players to be more honest about their health. The culture surrounding this is tough to change, but manager Mike Matheny wants his players to come to him if “anything that is off.” As Goold notes, Alex Reyes and Matt Bowman revealed they were, in Bowman’s words, not “entirely forthcoming.” Carlos Martinez said he pitched tentatively because he was “scared” of re-injuring himself. Matheny also called pitcher Michael Wacha “a great liar” when talking about his arm health.

Matt Carpenter has also played through injury and takes pride in it. He’s an example of the old mentality the club is trying to pierce through. Caarpenter said, “I’m a believer in if you’re getting paid to do a job and you’re capable of doing the job — even if it’s 85 percent of your best — I feel you have the obligation to be out there. That is the mentality I’ve always used. I could have very easily, at times last year, sat on the [disabled list], but I felt like I could still go out and do my job.”

Goold points out that players approach dealing with health issues differently depending on where they’re at in their careers. A young player who just got called up has pressure to stay in the big leagues and appear in games, so he may not want to address a health issue. A player who has already secured a multi-year contract may have less pressure on him and thus may be more willing to come to the trainer’s room.

I’ve long believed that player health will be the next arena in which front offices will separate themselves from the pack. Analytics had been that battleground for a while, but with every club now having an analytics department in some capacity, front offices will have to find value in new ways. Limiting the amount of time that players miss due to injury would be a significant boost for a team and it will start with players being forthcoming about what’s bothering them rather than trying to fight through pain.