Outfield Arm Strength: What Is Good Velo At Every Level?

Arm strength for outfielders is very important, and the further players advance in their career, a strong arm will be necessary to compete as an everyday outfielder. While raw arm strength is only one factor considered when evaluating outfielders, it is an important tool to develop.

Professional and high-level college players typically are able to throw above 90 mph from the outfield. Good high school baseball players are usually at 85 mph and above. Some elite outfielders can throw upwards of 100 mph from the outfield.

Good teams and good coaches will strategically play outfielders at certain positions in the outfield according to their arm strength. In this article, we will break down what that looks like by position and by level. We also have a related article comparing infield arm strength across every level.

Arm Strength by Position and Level

Left Field

  • Professional: 90 mph +
  • Collegiate: 85 mph +
  • High School: 83 mph +

Left field is normally a hitting dominant position. This means hitting ability and power are prioritized for left-fielders over defensive ability. However, that’s not to say defensive ability isn’t important when it comes to left field. In order for players to keep progressing throughout their careers, it will take the ability to be an above-average left fielder defensively. Typically, in professional and college baseball, left fielders are often converted infielders, utility players, or have the ability to play other outfield positions.

Arm strength is not as important as it is in right field, as the throw to third base is a short distance in comparison. Nonetheless, a left fielder with the inability to throw out runners will be a defensive liability.

Center Field

  • Professional: 90 mph +
  • Collegiate: 85 mph +
  • High School: 83 mph +

Center field prioritizes speed over arm strength slightly, as the position of the center fielder weighs on running down fly balls over throwing runners out. However, much like left field, a center fielder with a weak arm will be exposed and taken advantage of. Route taking and footwork is an equally important skill set for center fielders and can make or break their chances to throw runners out, regardless of arm strength.

Right Field

  • Professional: 92 mph +
  • Collegiate: 88 mph +
  • High School: 85 mph +

Right fielders typically have the strongest arms in the outfield. This is because they have the farthest throw to make for runners running to third base as opposed to left and center field. Right field is also a hitting dominant position like left field, but with a slight more emphasis on defense than left field, specifically, arm strength.

A Strong Arm is More Than Just Velocity

A strong outfield arm is much more than pure velocity. Carry, accuracy, and the time it takes an outfielder to throw the ball are all equally important. From a showcase and recruiting perspective, throwing 90 mph from the outfield will definitely get the attention of scouts, but then they will immediately begin evaluating the aforementioned factors.

Carry is how well a throw travels through the air, and not necessarily entirely based on the velocity. The spin of the laces influence the flight path of a thrown ball, which can be most obviously seen with pitching. A 4 seam grip will help the ball carry on a flat and straight trajectory.

The importance of accuracy goes without saying. The ability to hit cutoff men and throw to bases is more important than throwing with max velocity from the outfield. Any scout and coach will say they prefer 85 mph and accurate over 92 mph and wild.

How quickly an outfielder can get rid of the ball after fielding is also a very important quality of an outfielder. Taking an extra step to throw the ball can be the difference between a runner being safe and out. An extra step takes a lot of time that even a strong arm can’t make up for it. This also means fielding the ball cleanly is extremely important, as a bobble or anything that prolongs the time before the throw usually means the runner will be safe.

How to Impress Scouts

Showcases and camps are a great way for players to show off raw arm strength, as usually throws from the outfield are measured with a radar gun. That’s not to say a player shouldn’t sacrifice carry, accuracy, and quickness. It’s important to remember scouts and coaches are looking at everything as a whole., which we break down in more detail in our article discussing the 5 tools that scouts evaluate. Scouts are focused on what will translate to a game, not strictly on-paper measurements.

On a closing note, the mph benchmarks above are just simple starting points. There are plenty of professional and college players that are not 90 mph and above from the outfield, and it does not mean a player has no chance to advance further if they don’t have a superb arm. What an outfielder lacks in arm strength they may make up for in speed, route taking, fly ball reads, etc. There are no absolutes when it comes to these types of arbitrary measurements and how well they will translate to the game.