MILWAUKEE -- Not every fastball has to be 98 mph. That message is one Mets manager Terry Collins hopes to get across to young pitchers like Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia.
Collins used reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander as an example. While the Tigers' ace can touch triple digits on the radar gun, he doesn't do it with every pitch.
"All of a sudden when that guy gets in scoring position, his game amps up," Collins said. "The slider's no longer 88, it's 91. The fastball's no longer 94, it's 100."
Mejia, Harvey and Familia each sit in the mid-to-upper 90s with their fastballs. But they could be more effective and efficient with their pitches if they learn to vary their velocity in a Verlander-like fashion, getting easy outs at times and going for strikeouts at others.
Collins thinks each of the Mets' young pitchers could learn a lot from veteran ace Johan Santana.
"You've got to learn as you go," Collins said. "What a great time to have Santana here. What an impact he might have had on some of these young guys up here. Because that's one of the things he was a master at. Even now.
"It certainly will be exciting to see that group of guys next spring together, and have [Santana] mentor those guys."