Hardest-Throwing 2015 Free Agents

“Why do you guys care about velo such much, man?” Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon asked reporters last week.  Fastball velocity continues to hold great appeal to fans, reporters, and baseball executives, especially with so much data readily available.  Beyond the pure excitement of watching Yordano Ventura or Stephen Strasburg pitch, fastball velocity is often an indicator of success.  With that in mind, here’s a look at the currently velocity leaders among those eligible for free agency after this season.

Relievers

  1. Kyle Farnsworth – 94.2
  2. Andrew Miller – 94.2
  3. David Robertson – 94.2
  4. Chris Perez – 93.8
  5. Joba Chamberlain – 93.8
  6. Matt Albers – 93.8 (club option)
  7. Carlos Marmol – 93.6
  8. Jim Johnson – 93.4
  9. Matt Lindstrom – 93.2
  10. Brian Wilson – 92.6 (player option)

Starters

  1. Brandon Morrow – 93.5 (club option)
  2. Felipe Paulino – 93.0 (club option)
  3. Johnny Cueto – 92.9 (club option)
  4. Ervin Santana – 92.4
  5. Dustin McGowan – 92.3 (club option)
  6. Jason Hammel – 92.1
  7. Jorge de la Rosa – 92.1
  8. Josh Beckett – 91.9
  9. James Shields – 91.8
  10. Francisco Liriano – 91.8

Note that the game’s hardest throwers are generally not available in free agency, as they’re also among the younger pitchers.  Farnsworth, 38, is the hardest-throwing free agent but ranks 43rd overall among all pitchers.


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27 Responses to Hardest-Throwing 2015 Free Agents Leave a Reply

  1. johnsilver 1 year ago

    Found it hard to believe that Lester wasn’t listed, then looked him up and sure enough.. He’s sitting at an average of 91.6 so far this season, down a full tick over last year.

    Maybe he’s just not fully at full strength yet, but another reason for warning lights at those calling for throwing endless dollars just to keep him in a Red Sox uni at all costs.

    • Croagnut 1 year ago

      Or it could be he’s a little bit tired, seeing he’s thrown 281.2 innings since the start of last season (little over a year).

      • That coupled with a contract year isn’t a great scenario for whoever pays his next contract. Lester will want to avoid the DL/skipping starts at all costs. Thankfully, he’s been effective and looks solid but I hope the Sox are monitoring him so that Dr. James Andrews stays away.

        • Croagnut 1 year ago

          Amazing how a stat that shows a pitcher to be a workhorse can somehow be spun into a bad thing.

          Lots of the pitchers who have visited Andrews seem to be on the younger side. I don’t think you’ll find any greater correlation between TJ Surgery and pitchers in the 30s, especially those who are workhorses. Even if he hypothetically does have to visit JA, it wouldn’t mean his career is over. It usually means a lost year, and the pitcher usually comes back with renewed strength – Thats not the end of the world, its just a risk.

          Lester has put up 190+ innings for the past 6 seasons, and pitched excellent in post-season. Thats a GOOD thing. If you remove the ’12 season (under Valentine, where almost the entire team underachieved) he is in his 6th straight season of ERA below 4.00.

        • Karkat 1 year ago

          An eval a day keeps the TJ away!

          • I saw Dr. James Andrew lurking beneath one of the scoring slots in the Green Monster with a scalpel.

      • That’s exactly right. But that mileage is just going to go up not down so I don’t see him adding velocity anytime soon.

        • Croagnut 1 year ago

          He’ll be a workhorse and go to the WS every year? Sign me up.

          • Bobo Johnstone 1 year ago

            Exactly. If the Diamondbacks acquire him today, they go to the World Series all because of him.

          • Croagnut 1 year ago

            My post was in response to banana’s comment, but he edited it. My comment was sarcasm to his post, but now doesn’t match up at all with what he said.

    • James F 1 year ago

      It’s still early into the season. A pitchers velocity tends to peak near the All-Star break then might go down from fatigue. It hasn’t exactly been that warm until recently as well.

    • It is somewhat concerning. His stats are good, but it also doesn’t look like he’s doing anything especially different either so it’ll be interesting to see if the diminished velocity is permanent and/or a problem.

    • Scott Berlin 1 year ago

      Maybe he’s in decline like Sabathia.

  2. MetsEventually 1 year ago

    Do you even Velo bro

  3. LazerTown 1 year ago

    And half of those relievers have no clue how to aim the ball.

    • johnsilver 1 year ago

      Nothing wrong with Miller, Robertson, or Matty Albers from the top 6. Bottom 4 have wild marmol, Closer who has been inconsistent since last year in JJ, Wilson who has lost over 3 ticks off his FB since his hey day and Matty Lindstrom, another guy who is pitching with much diminished velocity who used to occasionally register 99-100 with the Fish.

  4. Steve Corbett 1 year ago

    Found this to be quite interesting. I personally never even think of Jim Johnson throwing heat, but there you go.

  5. rogyanks 1 year ago

    Farnsworth and Joba are just 2 examples of why Vel does NOT matter. Most ML hitters feast off of a straight, down the middle 93-94 FB. D-Rob does not average 94MPH by the way. His stride to the plate coupled with his 91-92 FB ( with movement) separates him !!!!

    • strikethree 1 year ago

      Yeah, I found Robertson’s listing here as odd. Usually see him throw 91-93 mph.

      He has only pitched 4 innings this year, so it’s probably just a small sample size.

    • Velocity might not be the end all be all, but it is important. There’s a reason there aren’t a ton of pitchers who throw in the 70s in the majors.

      • rogyanks 1 year ago

        You are right of course. The context was throwing mid-90’s.

  6. One of the few shining moments of the 2012 Sox season was Vincente Padilla’s eephus pitch.

  7. johnsilver 1 year ago

    Is it fairly obvious Beckett is in a contract year? He seems to do this on a continual basis. Fangraphs has him listed at 92.3mph even, his highest average since his last contract season (2011). when he was at 93.1.

    Even if JB puts together another 2011 type season, does anyone see him getting any type of security with the way he has performed since 2009?

    • Croagnut 1 year ago

      Amazing how inconsistent Beckett is year-to-year

      ERAs Starting in ’01:
      Odd Years … Even Years
      …. 1.50 …………. 4.10
      …. 3.04 …………. 3.79
      …. 3.38 …………. 5.01
      …. 3.27 …………. 4.03
      …. 3.86 …………. 5.78
      …. 2.89 …………. 4.65
      He finally broke the trend in ’13, by getting worse:
      …. 5.19 …………. 2.45
      Looks like he’s decided to remain inconsistent, but reverse the trend.

      But I still think he’ll get 3yrs/40mil, for these reasons.
      1) Starting Pitching is so thin league wide, someone will bite.
      2) Beckett name will sell a lot of jerseys and seats, offsetting some of the money invested.

      Final Note: Whoever does sign him, will regret it.

  8. Bobo Johnstone 1 year ago

    Hey Tim, it looks like you have to proof and edit the first paragraph. Read Papelbon’s quote. Care about velo “such much”? Did he actually say that, or is it supposed to be “so much” instead? Finally, the last sentence reads “the currently velocity leaders” which is incorrect. OK job otherwise!

  9. misunderestimated 1 year ago

    Am I the only one surprised that Max Scherzer is not on this list?

  10. disqus_7KiKMOOd1L 1 year ago

    Consistent velocity is more important for relief pitchers because they rely on it as they go all out usually for 1 inning. When velo decreases, most relievers become less effective because they haven’t perfected other pitches. Besides, many closers flame out after a couple of good years. Papelbon can pooh-pooh velocity because he has lost some but has always thrown a quality splitter, so he can adjust. C.C. and Gallardo are starters worth watching since each has lost velocity and is no longer the power pitcher he once was. This is about the 2nd or 3rd season of them changing their style so the results should start bearing out. C.C. has always thrown a quality changeup and slider so he should adjust easier. Gallardo has mostly been a 2-pitch pitcher with little work on a change but adding a cutter. It all depends on their ability to maintain their command and if the loss in velocity is due to diminished arm strength, that could reduce the sharpness of their breaking pitches as well. A lot of variables. And who can faithfully believe the gun readings anyway? I see numerous times on TV when the gun says “90” and you can tell by the way the hitters are swinging that the ball is getting up on them quickly. Other times it’ll read “96” and the pitch looks like a BP fastball.

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