Fastball, sinker, cutter, curve, and changeup are tools a pitcher can use against an opposing batter. Pitchers in the American League are blessed with the designated hitter rule, which allows other players to take the plate during the pitchers’ at-bats.
This rule provides pitchers the ability to hone their skills and add to their toolbox, rather than worrying about batting practice. Although the rules are slightly different for the leagues, the pitch speed variations between the two are quite interesting. See how American League pitchers compare with the Fastest Throwing Pitchers in the National League.
Using data from MLB Statcast, excluding any pitchers that have thrown less than 100 pitches, we decided to take a look at the American League’s fastest and hardest pitchers around. Read on to see which infield flamethrowers are dominating per pitch type.
Out of the entire American League, Aroldis Chapman makes up the ladder with the fastest throwing pitches, coming in at a whopping 97.22 mph average for his entire repertoire. When it comes down to fastballs, the current New York Yankees pitcher also claims the fastest four-seam fastball and sinker for himself, with a recorded pitch speed of 99.35 mph for both!
Nowadays, the one breaking pitch that nearly all pitchers in the Major League throw is the slider. Ah the slider, the pitch with the greatest amount of controversy over its technique – whether to snap the wrist or keep things loose. Chicago White Sox, left handed pitcher, Chris Sale, snaps his wrist to the speed of 91.60 mph to consistently strike out batters.
The 2015 World Series winners, the Kansas City Royals, have the right idea when it comes to acquiring relief pitchers. Danny Duffy made three relief appearances against the New York Mets during the series. Ultimately, he contributed to their success.
Though he doesn’t play often, Duffy has made it known that his curveballs are the fastest in the league (84.13 mph). Changing things up a bit for the Royals, Yordano Ventura, throws the quickest changeup in the league at a speed of 89.90 mph. Finishing up the list, Bryan Shaw of the Cleveland Indians throws the meanest cutter balls at 93.39 mph, nearly 6.00 mph faster than the league average cutter pitch.
A pitch that takes a sudden change in direction while crossing home plate is known as a breaking ball. Currently, the average break produced by pitchers in the American league is only 6.46 inches. Alex Claudio, pitcher for the Texas Rangers, is known to batters in the Major League as a left-handed relief threat. Although he has a nasty changeup, Claudio’s curveballs break an average of 11.73 inches.
Left-handed batters may want to practice swinging the other way when going face-to-face against this deceptive deliverer. One of the greatest feats a pitcher can accomplish is throwing a straight pitch from the mound to the plate. Current Oakland Athletics pitcher, Sean Doolittle – though there are trade talks – takes pride in throwing the straightest pitches in the American League with an average break of only 3.66 inches
Each of these pitches require an immense amount of skill and power. With the current designated hitter rule in place in the American League, pitchers are able to conserve energy and produce record-setting pitch speeds. Regardless of the pitch type, Major League pitchers will have heads turning with the insane fireballs they’re flinging across home plate.
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