Celebrate the imminent return of pitchers to your life with MLB's 10 hardest-throwing whiff artists
Pitchers will be back in action as soon as Thursday, and they'll be hurling baseballs ever faster. The average fastball velocity has risen in each of the last seven seasons, from 90.9 mph in 2008 all the way up to 92.4 mph last year.
Many of the pitchers who threw that cheese return to action today, and that's more than enough reason to celebrate. It's been a long, whiffless winter, after all. Here are the 10 pitchers who struck batters out with the highest velocity in 2015:
10. Noah Syndergaard (9/12 vs. Braves) - 100.3 mph
Statcast™ calculated Syndergaard's average four-seam velocity at 97.36 mph -- which is absolutely absurd for a starting pitcher. Even crazier is that his perceived velocity was even higher at 98.43. The next highest starter: Jose Fernandez at 96.68.
9. Kevin Gausman (4/22 vs. Blue Jays) - 100.3 mph
Gausman plans to ditch the goggles for next year after getting LASIK, but he may want to re-think protective eyewear given the straight fire emerging from his hand.
8. Jeurys Familia (5/25 vs. Phillies) - 100.4 mph
Another Met on this list -- which shouldn't be surprising considering that the team is the personification of velocity. Familia topped out when he K'd Jeff Francouer with this triple digit-er. Unfortunately for Familia, it was too hard for anyone to hold onto.
7. Trevor Rosenthal (9/15 vs. Brewers) - 100.6 mph
Behind only Chapman and Kelvin Herrera in Statcast™'s average pitch velocity, Rosenthal's fastball might as well have been wearing an invisibility cloak. Look at the one above -- no matter how Scooter Gennett tried to cheat on the heater, there was no catching up with it.
6. Arquimedes Caminero (6/25 vs. Reds) - 100.7 mph
As Archimedes said: "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall rule the world." Given that pitching limbs, shoulders and rotator cuffs are basically levers, well, it all makes sense.
5. Arodys Vizcaino (9/4 vs. Nationals) - 100.9 mph
Vizcaino is the classic flame-throwing reliever from your dreams, posting a 1.60 ERA in his longest Major League stint last year.
4. Nathan Eovaldi (8/24 vs. Astros) - 100.9 mph
Meanwhile, Eovaldi is a genetic freak who can reach triple digits as a starter - though he posts merely average strikeout rates. Thanks to Statcast™, we know that average rate is probably due to the low spin on his pitches, including the lowest non-knuckleball spin in baseball on his splitter.
3. Bruce Rondon (6/25 vs. White Sox) - 101.1 mph
It makes sense that Rondon is named Bruce because his fastball is The Boss. (Get it?)
2. Kelvin Herrera (6/2 vs. Indians) - 101.3 mph
Since 2012, Kelvin Herrera has the 14th-best ERA among relievers with at least 200 innings pitched. Of course, remove the closers from the equation, and Herrera is fourth. His Statcast™-measured 98.43 mph average fastball is a large reason why the Royals' bullpen is the pitching equivalent of the 1927 Yankees.
1. Aroldis Chapman (6/16 vs. Tigers) - 103 mph
You saw this one was coming. Chapman, who tattooed his record-breaking 105 mph fastball on his arm, had an average fastball velocity of 99.96 mph last season and an average perceived velocity of 100.76 mph. Fifty-eight pitches topped 102 mph during the 2015 season, and Chapman threw all of them.