I made mention yesterday of the five worst pitches at inducing ground balls once contact is made. All five happened to be fastballs. Before I get to the five best pitches, unsurprisingly dominated by breaking pitches, I wanted to highlight four pitchers who happened to have fastballs that were actually competitive with the league’s best breaking balls at garnering ground balls.
While Russ Springer and company were chucking up straight four-seamers that hovered around 17% on the ground ball rate, these four were so far on the other end as to need a galactic wormhole to see each other. Randy Choate topped all in the land with his fastball recording a ground ball a remarkable 69% of the time it was put in play. Cla Meredith and Sean Green equaled that mark though were a few fraction points below. And Jeremy Affeldt was at 67%. Together, those four were above and beyond what other fastball throwers managed, the average remember being around 39%.
Of course, there’s a catch. Cla Meredith, Sean Green and Randy Choate are all extreme side arm throwers. While their offerings are technically not two-seamers, the angles they create make them act just like sinkers nonetheless. Though they may not belong in the same comparison as the fastball pitchers mentioned before, they still deserve attention for racking up such high ground ball rates off any type of fastball-like pitch.
Just like those with the fly-ball-prone fastballs had overall fly ball batted ball profiles, the pitchers listed here have some of the most ground ball heavy profiles in the Majors. However, given that three of the four are sidearmers, I decree that the true title for having the best worm-burning fastball in baseball last season goes to Jeremy Affeldt.
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