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Kansas City’s Kelvin Herrera is MLB’s new hardest thrower

May 9, 2012, 7:00 PM EDT

Kelvin Herrera Getty Images

Averaging a cool 99.1 mph with his fastball, Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera has taken over as the league’s hardest thrower since being called up last month.

Here’s the top 10, according to Fangraphs data:

99.1 – Herrera
98.6 – Andrew Cashner (Padres)
98.4 – Henry Rodriguez (Nationals)
96.8 – Nate Jones (White Sox)
96.8 – Alexi Ogando (Rangers)
96.7 – Pedro Strop (Orioles)
96.4 – Aroldis Chapman (Reds)
96.3 – Jason Motte (Cardinals)
96.0 – Esmil Rogers (Rockies)
96.0 – Craig Kimbrel (Braves)

The top starter on the list is Stephen Strasburg at 95.7. Obviously, Strasburg and a few other starters could average in the high-90s for an inning like some of these relievers, but they have to pace themselves to go six or seven innings.

Herrera, a 22-year-old righty out of the Dominincan Republic, generates his big velocity despite standing just 5-foot-10. He has a 3.31 ERA and a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings since joining the Royals.

Interesting is that, to this point anyway, Herrera has used his fastball less than any other pitcher on this list, throwing it just 55 percent of the time. Cashner and Rodriguez are both over 70 percent fastballs. Chapman throws his 84 percent of the time.

  1. ajcardsfan - May 9, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    I pity his catcher…I don’t care how padded that glove is…you’re going to feel repetitive 99.1 fastballs in the morning

    • cur68 - May 10, 2012 at 1:58 AM

      Saw him do his thing live the other day. You could hear the smack of ball in glove like a gunshot. He reached 101mph according to Kaufman’s radar. Stupid fast.

  2. royalsfaninfargo - May 9, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    At least the Royals pitching staff has one positive.

  3. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Yankees should just take him.

    • - May 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      Saw some Royals bloggers kicking this around the other day.

      The last Royal to not re-sign with the Royals and then sign with the Yankees? Chili Davis.

  4. mungman69 - May 9, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Who throws the slowest?

    • Matthew Pouliot - May 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      Moyer and it’s not close. He’s at 78.3, no one else under 83.

      • dondada10 - May 9, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        So R.A. Dickey, a knuckle-baller, throws harder than Moyer?

      • Matthew Pouliot - May 9, 2012 at 8:39 PM

        We’re only talking fastballs. FWIW, Dickey’s knuckler averages 76.7, while his fastball is at 83.0. He has the second slowest fastball, mostly because he’s still using his knuckleball delivery.

        After Dickey is Zito at 83.6 and Livan at 83.8.

  5. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Must be Moyer.

  6. bigleagues - May 9, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    What makes this dude so intimidating is that his Change routinely takes 12-15 MPH off his Four Seam Fastball with no discernible change in delivery.

    His Change is about averages about 87 MPH.

    His Curve averages 80 MPH.

    And the craziest part is he has a straight Fastball that he throws for around 88-89 MPH.

    When he gets comfortable with his command at the big league level Herrera has the potential to be scary good – unhittable even.

  7. groundruledoublebourbon - May 9, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    I mean, that’s just throwing the living dogsh*t out of it, you guys.

  8. randygnyc - May 9, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    He’s a small dude, too. Tops out at 103, according to recent Yankee broadcast.

  9. angrycorgi - May 10, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    If you want to talk starters with speed, I don’t see how Verlander isn’t near the top. When my Rangers faced him in the ALCS, he was throwing mid-90s fastballs, but it actually got FASTER as his pitch count got near triple digits. I remember him reaching back in his final inning and pulling out several 98 and 99 MPH heaters to get strikeouts. That guy is a freak of nature, IYAM.

    • seeinred87 - May 10, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Verlander has several different “gears” for his fastball. He usually starts a game throwing 92,93, then builds up as the game goes along. That’s why his average won’t be as high as Strasburg’s and others, but I suspect that he has the ability to throw as hard/harder than just about anyone in the league.

      I’m pretty sure that in more than one of his starts, his final pitch of the night has been 100 MPH. In his 131 pitch CG against KC, his 128th, 129th, and 131st pitches all reached triple digits. He’s unreal.

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