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Turning Quarterbacks Into Pitchers

Why don’t teams ever sign former quarterbacks to try and turn them into pitchers?

This thought stems from watching Patrick Mahomes and his pre-draft NFL tape and discovering that his father was a former major league pitcher. Can a quarterback’s arm strength transfer to pitching? What can be learned from football velocity to uncover a future successful pitcher?

ESPN was ramping up their coverage in the weeks leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, and Mahomes was gaining momentum. A SportsCenter interview with the future MVP explored his multi-sport background, which caught my attention.

I was vaguely familiar with the story about Mahomes’ father reaching MLB as a pitcher. Apparently there was a time when Mahomes considered following in his father’s baseball footsteps. The interview spilled over into the prospect’s appearance in the Gruden QB Camp. He mentioned then that he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in high school, but due to a strong desire to play quarterback at Texas Tech, he went in the 37th round. If his football passion wasn’t as strong, scouts told him that the top three rounds were a likely landing spot.

As the video continued, it featured highlights of in-game play and practices where Mahomes showed a dynamic skill set. He had special throwing abilities, and his baseball background and natural talent was obvious in just a few of his tosses. There were impressive clips of him throwing a football from his knees about 50 or so yards, and another highlighting a final pregame warmup toss and ritual: throwing the ball about 75-80 yards in the air. Read the rest of this entry »