Lindbergh: Baseball’s hardest thrower now comes with whiffs

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer on June 14, 2018:

On May 20, Cardinals rookie reliever Jordan Hicks threw one of the most memorable balls of the season.

It wasn’t a good pitch—it was way outside, and far from its target—but it was an impressive pitch, and only partly because the zoomed-in, off-center angle made the sinker appear possessed. The pitch also impressed because of its speed: 105 mph. Many baseball broadcasts still flash flames on the chyron when a pitch touches 95. This pitch made a 95 mph fastball look like Mark Buehrle’s mid-80s gas. And it wasn’t a once-in-a-season or even once-in-an-outing event: Two pitches later, Hicks hit 105 again. The other three pitches that the Phillies’ Odúbel Herrera watched, waved at, or fouled off en route to a strikeout all rounded to 104.

Measurement error and changes in tracking technology make it tough to determine whether Hicks’s 105 or Aroldis Chapman’s similarly wild 105 from 2016 is definitively the fastest on record. It’s likely, though, that when this season is said and done, someone other than Chapman will have thrown the year’s fleetest fastball for the first time since 2009.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 14, 2018. Last Updated: June 14, 2018.