Does pitching faster lead to better results?

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There’s an idea out there that a pitcher who works faster pitches better. He gets more strikes called and his defense doesn’t go to sleep on him. The idea is that guys who plod along, in contrast, struggle to get borderline calls and generally labor. Work fast, throw strikes, baby.

But is it true? Or is this a situation in which we really just remember good fast workers like Greg Maddux who would’ve been threading the needle anyway and slow, plodding guys who struggle? Alternatively — or in addition? — is it just that we find fast work from a pitcher more aesthetically pleasing than slow work and thus assume that faster pitching means more effective pitching?

Those are some complicated questions, but Ben Lindbergh is a smart guy and yesterday he tackled them over at The Ringer. The results, as is often the case when the questions are complicated, are less than clear cut, but as with most things baseball-related, the journey is interesting even if things turn out a bit muddled.

Oh, and Ben works fast too, so there’s that.