Trackman Traits - Pitching: 2021 LHP Lucas Litteral (Magoffin County)

Zach Guth
KY Contributor/PA-NY Advanced Scout

Welcome to Trackman Traits! In this piece we will be dissecting the numbers the Trackman produces and the effect they can have on a pitcher's approach. Below there will be definitions of each category that we believe to be the most important for a young arm to keep in mind as well as breaking down an arm and giving suggestions on how they can improve their game. Keep in mind, in some categories it is better to be further away from average even if the numbers are wavering on below average. 


Fastball velocity doesn't go much deeper than just looking at the numbers and comparing them to the graphic below! Fastball velocity complements just about all of the other metrics that are measured. If you throw hard, it makes all your other pitches/metrics even better.


Spin rate is a measurement that if you are below average or above average, you can pitch with more room for error. On the other hand, if you are average you should try to throw in the bottom half of the zone with exceptional command. High spin fastballs profile as one that is frequently described as having "late life". Low spin fastballs tend to profile as a fastball that has heavy feel to it. Pitch movement is still dependent on spin direction of the pitch but Trackman does not have that metric displayed on profiles. 


Bauer Units are an easier way of determining how useful the spin numbers are compared to the velocity. We can calculate this metric by taking average spin rate and dividing it by average velocity. Bauer Units are useful because we can have a case of two pitchers with the same spin numbers, ex. 2200 RPM, but one pitcher throws 90 MPH and the other throws 83 MPH. The pitcher throwing 90 MPH with 2200 spin is not as impressive as the pitcher throwing 83 MPH with the same spin. Typically, we would tell the harder throwing pitcher to throw up in the zone purely off his velocity and his high spin, but because his Bauer Units would equate to around 24 that would be only 1 unit off of average (23), therefore he would want to hammer the bottom of the zone. On the other side, the pitcher throwing 83 MPH has a Bauer Unit measurement of 26 which is incredibly impressive. This would allow him to throw up in the zone even though his velocity is not blow away type numbers because he produces above average spin with that slated velocity. 


As far as deception and importance goes, fast induced vertical break (IVB) may be the most important. Induced vertical break is not what is sounds. IVB simply means the pitch is "breaking" upward from the average level a pitch falls from release to home plate. This is a stat that you want to stay away from being average at. Fortunately, this can be tweaked slightly depending on release height. To put it simply, the higher number =  more "rise" the pitch has compared to average. Lower number = more depth the pitch has to it. 


Spin rate on curveballs is pretty simple: higher spin = nastier stuff. There are some ways to manipulate spin numbers slightly but for the most part spin is spin. At the moment, there are no well known ways to change your spin in a big way. Spin not only dictates how sharp your curveball is, but it can also aid in keeping hitters honest by having similar rotation matching that of your fastball. 

Lucas Litteral

Class of 2022 / LHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2022
  • Primary Position: LHP
  • High School: Magoffin County
    State: KY
  • Summer Team: Evansville Razorbacks
  • Height: 6-5
    Weight: 170lbs
  • Bat/Throw: R/L

Scouting Report

Litteral displays a fastball with high spin and good ride through the zone. Works through a tall back leg and falls through release. Exceptional arm speed through a 3/4 slot with advanced feel for a CB/SL combo with depth to both pitches. At 6-foot-3 and 165 lbs, his ceiling is still not close to being reached meaning there is room to add to the frame. Velocity could see a jump in the coming months if frame is there. Long levers and feel for a FB/CB/SL mix, keep an eye out for Litteral in 2021. 




Fastball Breakdown

Velocity: To start off, lets take a look at the velocity comparison chart. Litteral is closer to the top 25% of the high school population as far as pure velo goes. To his advantage though, he can command his fastball. Tacking on velocity comes with physical maturation, time in the weight room and eating right. This part of the game is the easy part, going out and competing is the difficult part and it appears that Literal has no issues doing that so full steam ahead to reaching his ceiling. Left handed arms come at a premium to college coaches, so any velocity above the average paired with command is a bonus.

Spin Rate (SR): With a pitcher who does not exhibit overpowering velocity, spin can be his most important advantage over opposing hitters. Spin plays tricks on the eyes but most importantly has an effect on the way the baseball travels to the plate. Spin helps in the vertical and horizontal movement of the ball. With velocity, comes spin. So when you see a pitcher with high spin but not very high velo to compare, you typically know that there is some velocity being left on the table somewhere within the mechanics or the body. As said previously, Litteral would benefit immensely from adding to his frame. That is where the leftover velocity is hiding, and once he taps into it...look out. 

Bauer Units: Litteral works at a max Bauer Unit measurement of 31. This means that his useful spin on his fastball is well above what it should be for his velocity. This is another predictor for a velo jump sometime in the future. It also means that Litteral's fastball more than likely appears far faster to a hitter when they are recognizing the pitch. 

Induced Vertical Break (IVB): Typically when you see aa high spin fastball, it normally has high IVB numbers. It is difficult to find the reason for the low IVB numbers on Litteral's heater without diving even deeper into some measurements not pictured on his profile so I'll list a couple possible reasons why they don't match up. These reasons could be: velo, tilt on the pitch (how he releases the fastball and the direction of the spin), and vertical approach angle. 

Curveball Breakdown

Spin Rate (SR): Although the spin numbers on a CB are typically higher than the fastball, Litteral still shows good feel for the pitch. He has showed confidence in dropping the curveball in the zone in just about any count for induce swings and misses or ground balls. Spin alone, this pitch should display sharp movements. 

Horizontal/Vertical Break: When we look at horizontal movement (HM) you want to think about it on a number line scale from the pitcher's view to home. At pitcher's mound, the measurement would be zero if someone threw a pitch that didn't move to either side. If a pitch moves to the left, it is a negative number and if a pitch moves to the right it would be a positive number. Litteral's curveball could use a little tick of refinement as his IVB and horizontal movement profile is that of a below average curveball. This is an easy fix, sometimes it is just reps that are needed, but other times it can be as simple as finding a new grip that suits his arm slot. Not everyone needs to throw a 12-6 curveball and most times guys find more success in a pitch grip that they did not think would fit their slot. Remember though, at the end of the day command wins and if you're in the zone you will find your way into a lot of outs.


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