Earlier today, I documented the rotations with average fastballs quicker than their pen pals. Since the inspiration came from thinking about Tim Wakefield handing the ball off to Daniel Bard, then it only feels right to flip the tables and look at the bullpens that really, really throw harder than their rotations. Note: for my purposes, “really, really” means at least three miles per hour. These numbers came from the team leaderboards and the only math done is subtracting the rotation’s velocity from the bullpen’s velocity. As you can imagine, those numbers came out positive, so no adjustment necessary.
Nationals 3.4 MPH
A little surprising because Stephen Strasburg torched catcher leather before his shoulder robotics gave out, but remember that Livan Hernandez resides here. As does Drew Storen (and so there too did Brian Bruney for a limited time and Matt Capps), and with no disrespect intended towards Storen or those other hard throwers in the pen, allow me to share the real culprit here. You see, the Nationals have had 10 pitchers start games for them this season that hold average fastballs under 90 MPH. Think about that, really, just think about that. How many teams have used 10 starters this season? How many have had, say, three starters with velocity that low? Five? Nine? Double digits? I do not know how that stacks up relative to other teams or historically, but that seems like a lot to me.
Giants 3.5 MPH
This can be described pretty easily: it’s all Barry Zito’s fault. Zito is one of the most scorned players in the league (in large part for his own rational decision making) and as such I tend to avoid cracking on him, but even I have to admit I laughed at Marc Normandin’s quote entrenched in this article. Funny is funny. Sorry, Barry.
White Sox 4.3 MPH
Not much about Kenny Williams is predictable. When most think he’s going left, he darts right. When folks expect him to sit, he stands. When they say jump, he hovers lightly over the surface. But one thing that is entirely predictable is what kind of bullpen arm the White Sox will add whenever possible. The only requirement is to throw hard. Call them the anti-Nationals because the White Sox currently have five different relievers with heaters averaging over 95 MPH and three more over 94.