May 12, 2008

Stat of the Day: Average Fastball Velocity

In honor of Livan Hernandez improving to 6-1 with a 3.90 ERA by beating the Red Sox last night and doing so without cracking 90 miles per hour, here are the Twins' average fastball velocities courtesy of Fan Graphs and Baseball Info Solutions:

Jesse Crain 94.2
Joe Nathan 94.0
Glen Perkins 92.2
Nick Blackburn 91.5
Juan Rincon 91.5
Matt Guerrier 90.8
Bobby Korecky 90.7
Brian Bass 90.5
Boof Bonser 90.4
Francisco Liriano 90.4
Scott Baker 90.2
Kevin Slowey 89.6
Pat Neshek 89.0
Dennys Reyes 89.0
Livan Hernandez 84.1

Not only is Hernandez the lone Twins pitcher with an average fastball under 89 miles per hour, he trails the next-slowest guys on the staff by five MPH. Among AL starters only knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (73.8 MPH) has a slower average fastball than Hernandez, who's actually throwing a half-mile per hour faster than he did with the Diamondbacks last season. At the other end of the spectrum, Jesse Crain (94.2 MPH) and Joe Nathan (94.0 MPH) rank 12th and 15th among AL pitchers, respectively.

Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees leads the league with an average fastball that clocks in at 95.9 MPH, while Dustin McGowan of the Blue Jays leads AL starters at 95.3 MPH. Francisco Liriano couldn't compete with that in his forgettable return from Tommy John surgery, averaging just 89.0 MPH with his fastball, but his 94.7 MPH pre-surgery fastball from 2006 would have ranked second only to McGowan among the league's starters.

Juan Rincon's fastball averaged 94.0 MPH in 2005, but fell to 93.0 MPH in both 2006 and 2007 before dipping to 91.5 MPH so far this year. On the other hand, Crain is actually throwing slightly harder than he was prior to shoulder surgery and along with Nathan is one of just two Twins to average at least 92.0 MPH with their fastball while throwing at least 10 innings this season. MLB's other 29 teams have a total of 95 such pitchers, for an average of 3.3 per team.

Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.

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