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Can a 12-Year-Old Pitch 90 MPH?

Written by: Coach Neil



Time to read 4 min

Developing pitching skills is a delicate balance. On one hand, you want to pitch as fast as possible as soon as possible. On the other hand, you need to give your body rest and set reasonable goals for your developmental age, even if they don’t line up perfectly with your chronological age. In this blog, we investigate the average pitching speed at different ages and see how the best baseball pitching machine options help pitchers in addition to batters.

How Hard Do 12-Year-Olds Throw?

The average pitching speed for a 12-year-old playing baseball is 50 mph, according to research published by the National Library of Medicine . However, it’s important to note that players develop at significantly different rates during this age. Some kids will be going through growth spurts and will start to pack on muscle. Others will be late bloomers compared to their teammates.

Factoring in developmental differences, 12-year-old pitchers typically throw between 50mph and 55mph, while advanced players can reach speeds up to 64 mph.

Since pitchers in this age group are still working on solidifying foundational skills, incorporating a pitching machine into your batting practice can make a world of difference. With a pitching machine , you can control the pitch speed, style, and intervals. That means more effective practices and fewer injuries for both pitchers and hitters. 

Can a 12-Year-Old Pitch 90 MPH?

A 12 year old can’t throw a 90 mph pitch. The average 12 year old can throw between 50 mph and 55 mph, with especially proficient baseball players throwing pitches up to 70 mph. At this age, pitching at 90 mph is an unrealistic expectation, and trying to reach this velocity can result in overuse, long-term injury, and frustration with the sport.

So what are the steps for a 12-year-old to follow for how to throw 90 mph pitches in the future? The first step is to understand that a player’s chronological age and developmental age don’t always line up. Especially in preteen and teenage years, people hit puberty at different times, which impacts growth spurts, the ability to build muscle, and more. These physical traits affect athletic performance, including pitch velocity.

The next step is to focus on fundamentals and set goals within a player's specific stage of development. Even with perfect technique, someone who hasn’t hit their growth spurt yet will have lower maximum potential than someone who already has. However, with great technique, late bloomers will be able to surpass their peers as they age.

Using a pitching machine during practice can also help young pitchers reach their full potential. These machines take excessive repetition away from pitchers, so they can rest their arms while the rest of the team can get needed practice.

How Many MPH Should a 13-Year-Old Pitch?

The average pitching speed for a 13-year-old is 54 mph, according to the National Library of Medicine , with speeds up to 64 mph being fairly common. Just like 12, 13 is another key age in physical development for players. Some kids will leap ahead, while others will still be waiting to hit their growth spurt. Players, coaches, and parents should keep these differences in mind when setting and pursuing performance goals.

For more context, consider the following figures from the average pitching velocity chart by age and elite pitching velocity by age:

  • Age 8: 40mph (average) / 50mph (elite)

  • Age 9: 43mph (average) / 55mph (elite)

  • Age 10: 46mph (average) / 58mph (elite)

  • Age 11: 48mph (average) / 60mph (elite)

  • Age 12: 50mph (average) / 65mph (elite)

  • Age 13: 54mph (average) / 69mph (elite)

  • Age 14: 60mph (average) / 78mph (elite)

Is Throwing 70 MPH at 13 Good?

Throwing 70 mph pitches at 13 is exceptionally good. According to the National Library of Medicine , pitch velocities of 70 mph are between three and four standard deviations faster than the average 13-year-old can throw.

Because it’s possible to run up against pitchers throwing at 70 mph at 13 years old, it’s important to practice hitting at the speed! Fortunately, you can use a MaxBP reaction training machine to get the reps in, even if the pitchers on your team can’t throw this fast yet. MaxBP machines also use training balls for improved challenge and safety and include customizable settings for pitch speed, style, and intervals. 

Can High School Pitchers Throw 90 MPH?

By 18 years old, experienced pitchers can break 90 mph when throwing pitches. However, speed isn’t everything when pitching in varsity ball. Control is key, and focusing only on throwing as fast as possible can result in injuries and inaccurate pitches. The average 18-year-old varsity player pitches in the low to mid-80s, so having great control in this range is often enough to make a meaningful impact on gameday.

How Rare Is It To Throw 90 MPH?

For youth players, it’s very rare to throw 90 mph pitches, and it’s even possible to be successful playing college ball while pitching in the upper 80s. In fact, the Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning Coaches Society reports that only 1% of varsity players throw pitches that are 90 mph or faster. 

For Optimal Pitching and Batting Development, Trust MaxBP!

Overtraining is a serious issue in youth and pro sports, and pitchers know this particularly well. Overuse in both practice and a series of games can result in painful injuries that take away enjoyment from such a wonderful sport. With pitching machines, batting practice can continue while pitchers get much-needed rest and recovery. With MaxBP reaction training machines , players also benefit from the following:

  • Ability for solo practice

  • Increased safety

  • Ability to practice in a smaller space

  • Wide range of pitch velocities and intervals

  • Ability to manipulate pitch RPMs for curveballs, splitters, and more

Don’t wait; see which machine can help you take your game to the next level!