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I've noticed that my players are gradually getting weaker. Notably my pitchers. 3/5 of my pitchers have been barely able to throw over 80's for their 4-seems. When before they were hitting close to 90-94's. My season is barely mid-way through and this regression hits. Is this trying to promote getting new cards and not caring about statistics?
Answer from: mrblasto
I've noticed something similar. My pitchers' fastball speeds have dropped over the course of the 2014 season. However my batters have improved their power, are hitting more home runs, and the pitchers haven't lost their effectiveness when it comes to stopping the other team's offense.
When I started the season, my pitchers' 4-seamer speeds would match their power level, now it's about 5 - 8 mph less. But my team ERA has improved over the season. I can get batters out, I just can't strike them out. With a very fast pitcher I used to be able to strike out batters with an outside or high fastball, now they just take them for balls, so I have to mix my pitches up and settle for letting the fielders do the work.
To answer your question, I don't think it's to promote new cards as I've noticed the slow down even with new pitchers. For example a newly acquired Platinum Matt Harrison amped up to 119 power, has a 94 mph 4 seamer, a platinum Barry Zito in that range is even worse; but these are in line with their real abilities (Zito has one of the slowest fastballs in MLB). On the other hand, my Hero level Stephen Strasburg and Special level Justin Verlander both can throw 100mph+ fastballs, though not consistently. In fact Verlander can even do it after his stamina has dropped. This too is in line with their real abilities.
Other observations about pitcher's speeds is that conditioning seems to effect it. A pitcher whose condition level is down (the red negative numbers) isn't as fast as he is when the level is up or normal, even if power level is the same. As the pitcher's stamina decreases, so does the speed of his pitchers. Finally, as long as stamina is high, both increased power and control seem to paralyze the batters into outs. That's why I worry less about speed and more about control and endurance.
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