Watt fires 73 mph pitch to open season for Astros


Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.

Watt, the 2012 NFL defensive player of the year, took to the mound in Houston on Sunday night and threw the first pitch for the Astros’ season opener against the Rangers.  (Apparently, the Astros have switched leagues.)

The consensus is that Watt brought the heat.  According to Molly Knight of ESPN (via CBSSports.com), Watt threw the ball 73 miles per hour.

The performance from the mound follows Watt recently hitting multiple batting-practice home runs with the Astros.

So, yes, he can do much more than deliver pizzas.

UPDATE 10:59 p.m.:  Though I gave up on baseball more than 20 years ago when the Pirates blew the NLCS to the Braves in Game Seven, I still realize that a 73-mph pitch won’t break the catcher’s fingers.  But it was the ceremonial first pitch from a guy who doesn’t play baseball.  If we assume that he worked at pitching and was throwing the hardest he could in a game setting, it’s safe to say the ball would come out slightly faster.

78 responses to “Watt fires 73 mph pitch to open season for Astros

  1. “Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.”

    Because he threw the ball 73mph? You’re kidding right?

  2. Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.


    …73mph isn’t that fast for a MLB pitcher. Just saying.

    Still. Watt is a freakish athlete.

  3. You’re right – most professional baseball players would just HATE to face a guy who tops out at 73 mph.

    It’s impressive for an NFL defensive lineman to throw that hard, but can we cut the hero worship and give major league baseball players a little credit here?

  4. Meh, JJ should stick to football. 73 mph in the majors won’t come close to cutting it. A decent HS pitcher can beat that and I’ve had several little leaguers (13/14) who could also.

  5. Baseball hitters should be glad they don’t have to stare down J.J. Watt on a regular basis.

    Why is that exactly? His fastball is the speed of a knuckleball. Pretty sure major league hitters would very much enjoy that experience.

  6. when jordan was playing aa ball everyone crucified him for giving baseball a try.jj watt throws a knuckleball speed fast ball and hits some bp hr’s and he is god? haha lol this kills me.

  7. Not saying Watt is not a freak of nature, but 73 mph is nothing to get giddy over. I grew up playing baseball and am only 5″10 and weigh 150 pounds and can throw pretty close to that. And because I can only pitcher close to that, thats why I am not in the MLB… Because it isn’t that great.

  8. The speed really doesn’t matter. Hitters love straight fastballs. Even if he added 15-20 mph on his fastball & could throw it across the plate, without any movement, hitters would feast on it.

    I haven’t thrown a baseball in a few years and can probably still touch close to 70 mph if all I had to do was rare back & heave it in the general direction of home plate.

    Nothing really impressive here.


  9. 99% of the posters here, me included, couldn’t throw that hard.

    You people bashing are mongoloids. Of course he couldn’t pitch in the pros, the point is he is a freak of an athlete. Unless he is doing HGH.

  10. ummmm….. obviously he’s not taking King Felix or J Verlanders rotation spot. I think the point that Florio was trying to make, that obviously fell flat on some knuckleheads here, is that for a guy from a different sport to come in and throw some 73 mile per hour heat on a ceremonial pitch, is pretty impressive. Especially a guy that is the size of JJ Watt. Tell me the last time you saw a guy with arms like that throw a baseball from a MLB mound. Answer, NEVER. You know why, all you “i grew up playing baseball and that ain’t impressive… blah blah blah…..” bleacher bunnies? Because the rotation and motion needed to throw a baseball at a high velocity does not allow for giant pythons. Dude has em, and STILL through faster than anyone that just critiqued him on here can.

  11. Kaep throws a 94mph fastball. He also throws a football harder than JJWatt throws a baseball too. That said JJ is a fantastic football player.

  12. J.J. Watt the DE football player took a baseball and sent it 73 MPH for 60 feet in a non competitive opening pitch without any training and warm up.

    People are stating that its not a big deal, weak, and would be launched out of the park.

    I would be willing to place quite a heavy bet on the fact that none of the people claiming this is no big deal could not even come close to hitting that ball. Even less would sit in place and put their body in position to stop that 73MPH baseball if they should not be able to catch it from 60 feet out. Even less are willing to drive their vehicle at 73MPH.

    FYI … My tickets have come at a much greater speed, I would NOT get into a position to get hit by that ball, and I already know that I can not hit a baseball….

  13. The Sid bream game? Strangely, the pirates are closer to having a pennant winning team than the yanks or braves. Times are a changing

  14. He could fire the ball 73 MPH at their head, then tear it off. Which high school pitcher can do that ? Or for that matter , any of you ? yeah , thought so. Next order of business.

  15. Next couple headlines to look out for:

    1) JJ Watt is enters the Kentucky Derby…. as the Horse!

    2) JJ Watt runs the 100meters in a blistering 16 seconds, Usain watch out!

    3) JJ Watt rides a bicycle!

    4) JJ Watt can hit a golf drive 200 yards!

    5) JJ Watt owns a car, therefore the next logical step is for JJ Watt to race in NASCAR.

  16. I was clocked in the 80’s in 7th grade. I was an above average south paw that ultimately hit the low 90s, but 73 mph? For a guy that big? Goes to show bringing the heat has nothing to do with a huge upper body. Legs, legs, legs.

  17. Listen.
    1. He’s an NFL superstar, not a MLB stud pitcher, so 73 is quite good, considering he’s probably not had any training on pitching. So instead of calling for people to give MLB players credit, why don’t you give an NFL star credit for doing something nobody thought he could do.

    2. If you don’t like the news that comes out, make your own. Don’t see any of you complainers writing anything.

  18. There are kids each and every year in the Little League World Series who hit this speed. 73 mph for a man of his size and athletic ability is not impressive it’s actually a disappointment. I was throwing that speed as a 7th grader and I was 1/3rd of his weight/size at that time.

  19. I like Watt, I’m a Texan fan, I feel that if he can play 12 more years like he’s played the last two, he’ll be in the Hall of Fame. Likely one of the greatest football players to ever play in Houston.

    That said, It’s a little tiring hearing the women croon on him, and the media gushing over every little detail…

    FWIW, I’m 30, haven’t played since 2001, and can still hit the low 80’s.

  20. Watt’s alma mater ….the University of Wisconsin…doesn’t have baseball anymore.

  21. His form sucks – if he was taught to pitch I’m sure he could get it up into the 80s – which is about as hard as your average major league non pitcher throws.

    He’s clearly a damn fine athlete.

  22. The Astros went from the frying pan into the fire joining the ever tough AL West where the mighty surprising toughy Oakland A’s welcome them into the division.

  23. The pitch was so far inside it would of beened a left handed hitter. Better than embarrasing himself with a 36mph pitch that didn’t even reach the plate like most. Cue the Obama, Pres Bush and other bad pitch tapes…

  24. Really? Everyone’s going to start analyzing Watt’s pitching now? He’s a DE throwing a first ball – get over it already.

  25. That’s actually pretty fast for a non-baseball player who’s bulked-up for football to throw. If he warmed up a while, could probably throw 80.

  26. A football player that plays a non ball handling position throws out a ceremonial first pitch as fast or faster than non pitching baseball players and people are falling all over themselves to not be impressed.

  27. In other news, Watt “blazes” up 15 degree incline on Mo-Ped at a blistering 11 miles per hour.

  28. In my 20’s I could throw over 90. That’s when I was tall, in shape and lanky. Today I’m 50, tall and overweight and can throw in the high 70’s. So I guess that’s not too bad.

  29. decent arm for a regular person. what some might not realize is that if you throw 90+mph, you’ll be recruited to play college baseball and probably get drafted. the mlb journeyman throwing up 86mph “garbage” would blow you away if you got in the box. throwing mlb speeds is a rare skill.

  30. Um…73 is not fast. Anyone on here who thinks it is fast probably never even played little league. Even if he worked at it he probably wouldn’t break 80 which is also very slow to anyone who has played baseball at a decent level. An average fastball at a decent program in HIGH SCHOOL is around 80. Stick to football Florio.

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