He’s still only 29 years old, but we may be seeing the last of Pestano.
Pestano was a hard-throwing back end of the bullpen guy at his peak, relying almost exclusively on his fastball. In 2012, Pestano threw his heater just over 80 percent of the time with an average velocity of 92.6 mph. At times he could hit 95 on the radar gun.
But his velocity dropped every season since, and has fallen off the table completely so far in 2014.
It’s possible for starting pitchers to throw in the upper 80s and get by with strong location and changing speeds, but it is extremely rare for a bullpen guy like Pestano.
While it’s a relatively small sample size (he’s only thrown 26 fastballs) there’s also no reason why sample size should matter. A pitcher’s velocity doesn’t typically rise by any meaningful amount throughout the season. The fact that he’s topped out at 91.2 (barely at his average from a season ago) is extremely concerning.
I certainly can’t provide any explanation for Pestano’s collapse, other than to speculate that he has yet to heal from the injury. Hopefully Pestano can get better, but I have a strong suspicion that he’s headed to the DL in the very near future and the end of his career is on the horizon if he can’t rebound.
How fitting that just hours after posting this Pestano implodes in the 9th inning…
During his meltdown, Pestano threw 25 pitches and only 16 fastballs. For a guy who used threw 80% heaters, this is an obvious change in approach and seems to indicate that he’s lost confidence in the pitch.
And as I detailed yesterday, he has good reason to have lost faith in his fastball. He maxed out at 90.0 mph yesterday, and was consistently throwing 88 to 89 with the fastball.