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Brian Wilson, one of the best ninth inning guys in baseball over the past four years, seemingly has every trait that most scouts look for in a Closer. Starting with his quirky make up (most great closers are a little off), Wilson has shown a knack for rising to the occasion in the biggest moments in ball games, even if some of those situations were heightened by his own mistakes.
He is in phenomenal shape, built for multiple innings, sometimes four or five days in a week, is mentally tough, and is loaded with a four-seam 97-98 mph fastball that occasionally hits in the 99-100 mph range. Well, actually, he used to be armed with that fastball, but it is has somehow disappeared this year.
It’s been well documented this year that Wilson spent a lot of time in the offseason developing a two-seam fastball that moved from left to right. After refining the pitch in the first part of the year, Wilson now regularly uses the two-seamer, running it up to the plate in the 93-95 mph range. The four-seamer, which Wilson used to rely on but has gone away from a little bit, is rarely hitting 96 anymore, let alone 97-98.
In Wilson’s blown save last night against the Atlanta Braves, Wilson hit 97 with his two-seam fastball, sitting around 95-96 with his four-seam. It may sound trivial to bring out the difference between 2 mph, but it has all come about this year. Wilson hasn’t been consistently throwing 97-98 all year, let alone anything above, and those mph are a big deal when it comes down to major league hitters in a fastball count. Why has Wilson's 98+ mph fastball suddenly disappeared?