Travis Wood Was Bringing the Heat Last Night - Is It Here to Stay?

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Travis Wood Was Bringing the Heat Last Night – Is It Here to Stay?

Chicago Cubs

travis wood cubs featureTravis Wood hit 94mph on the broadcast gun last night more than once.

Being that the starter-turned-reliever used to pitch around 89-90mph with his four-seam fastball, the gun’s readings had me scrambling to check the PitchFX at Brooks this morning. Turns out, Wood didn’t max out at 94mph last night on his four-seamer. He maxed out at 95.8(!) mph.

I know that sounds like a crazy jump, but I checked the velocities for Jason Hammel, James Russell, and Pedro Strop, and nothing seemed out of whack in their data last night. I also checked FanGraphs’ velocity data, and they had Wood maxing out just shy of 95mph last night.

Wood pitched the day before against the Royals, though, and maxed out at 90mph. Otherwise, he’s been in the 91-92mph range. I think we can say that Wood was definitely throwing harder than usual last night, but we have to call the 95mph a blip for now.

That said, even an increase to 93mph – which seems doable for him in a relief role, because guys can max out a little more – could make him a special reliever if he can command it. Last night, as one example, Wood’s command of that hard fastball was spotty, which is to be expected for a guy maxing out when he’s not used to doing that. Wood’s cutter looked nasty, though, coming in at 90mph and bearing in on righties (it was borderline slutter). You pair that with a four seamer at 93/94mph that looks very similar? Throw in the occasional curveball? That’s a potentially killer reliever.

Long story short: last night was very interesting, and this is potentially something to watch. On the inning, Wood walked one, struck out two, and allowed no hits.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.