Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Top 10 Fastballs in Baseball

As of today, the best fastball in 2009 belongs to Randy effing Wolf. I know, I thought the same thing. But according to the glorious stat nerds over at FanGraphs, the Wolfman has the most effective heater in all of Major League Baseball. Wolf has been on fire since the All-Star Break. I don't have time to check my notes, but I'm pretty sure he's gone 34-0 in that time. Not bad.

As they say in baseball all the time(I think), location is far more important than velocity. This would certainly make sense since Wolf's average fastball blazes by at an even 89 MPH, which coincidentally is what my 4-seamer was clocked at in 2nd grade. But enough about me, let's get to the lists. Here are the 10 best and worst fastballs (and we're talking effectiveness, not velocity) in MLB. The numbers in parentheses signify Runs Above Average, which basically evaluates a certain player compared to league averages and assigns that player either a positive or negative number in a certain category.

10 Best Fastballs in MLB

10. J.A. Happ (18.0)
9. Josh Johnson (18.4)
8. Scott Baker (19.5)
7. Chris Carpenter (20.3)
5. Matt Cain (24.1)
5. Zack Greinke (24.1)
4. Justin Verlander (24.5)
3. Joel Pineiro (24.6)
2. Clayton Kershaw (26.4)
1. Randy Wolf (28.9)

  • Every guy on this list is a starting pitcher. Seattle closer David Aardsma just missed the cut with the 11th best heater.
  • Wolf and Kershaw are both Dodgers, Carpenter and Pineiro (WTF?) both Cardinals. Sounds like Rick Honeycutt and Dave Duncan are dynamite pitching coaches.
  • Carpenter has three pitches that are at least 10 runs above average(fastball, slider, curve). Pretty sure he's the only one. If that's wrong, let me know.
  • Ted Lilly has the best fastball on the Cubs (+15.7, 13th in MLB)
  • Matt Thornton has the White Sox's best fastball (+6.9, 65th in MLB)
  • When I wrote this post on the best and worst fastball hitters, Jarrod Washburn had the league's best fastball. Since joining Detroit he has taken a nose dive to 16th in the league.
  • Verlander(95.5 MPH), Johnson(95.1 MPH) and Kershaw(93.9 MPH) have the 3 fastest average heaters on this list. Happ(89.7), Pineiro(89.0 MPH) and Wolf(89.0 MPH) have the 3 slowest.

10 Worst Fastballs in MLB

10. Joe Blanton (-13.6)
9. A.J. Burnett (-14.3)
7. Bronson Arroyo (-14.8)
7. Zach Duke (-14.8)
6. Chris Volstad (-15.8)
5. Ricky Nolasco (-16.3)
4. Livan Hernandez (-16.5)
3. Trevor Cahill (-16.8)
2. Kenshin Kawakami (-19.1)
1. Carl Pavano (-20.6)

  • The picture is of Carl Pavano telling us which pitch he prefers to throw. Other than that, I have no notes. These guys blow.

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