A pitcher hitting 90 mph used to be a key marker of performance.
It meant a pitcher was verifiably “throwing gas”, and for decades, 90 meant scholarship offers, draft interest, and even hope at a major leaguer career
However, especially in the last 20 years, “hitting 90” has come to mean little to nothing, and in our experience, usually isn’t even accompanied by a top tier college scholarship offer anymore
The reason is advancements in technology
The original Ra-Gun from the 1970’s and 1980’s would measure the velocity of the pitch at about 50 feet in, 10 feet short of home plate
Then the JUGGS gun was introduced in the 90’s, which caught the pitch at 7 feet out of the pitchers hand
Then in the 2000’s the Stalker caught it just out of the pitchers hand, and the current model, the Stalker Pro 2, measures velocity almost instantaneously.
Why that matters is because of Drag
Just as we learned in physics class, where the velocity of an object is measured has a significant effect on its measured velocity
How that breaks down is that a pitch that would be 90mph on the old Ra-Gun, was then 92 on a JUGGS (which is why when the JUGGS was introduced it was known as the “fast gun”)
That same pitch on a stalker is 94, and on the Stalker 2, 95 to 96.
So because of the improvement in technology, 90 has become 95 to 96.
Same pitch, better technology
Which is why 90 USED to be a big deal, but is no longer
And why now in our experience, in order to receive offers from top D1’s, kids have to hit at least 92-93
And to move to Milb, most will need to flash at least 95-96 - the old “hitting 90”
If you can’t, the sport will continue, but you will be left behind