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A Little More On Fastball Swinging Strikes

  • There were 168 starters last year who threw at least 500 fastballs (that got picked up by PITCHf/x). Ranked in descending order of swinging strike rate, Jonathan Sanchez ranks 5th (9.1%), Matt Cain ranks 12th (8.5%), Randy Johnson ranks 13th (8.3%), and Tim Lincecum ranks 18th (7.4%). Even Barry Zito was above the median. Between that rotation and a Lewis/Rowand/Winn outfield, San Francisco is not going to allow runs.

  • Among the names at the bottom of the list (Dallas Braden, Livan Hernandez, Kyle Lohse, Jeremy Bonderman, and Garrett Olson), Bonderman's name is by far the most interesting. His trick shoulder has taken a lot of life out of his fastball and left him as a one-pitch pitcher. Under contract for $25m over the next two years, the Tigers badly need him to bounce back, lest he become another expensive pile of Willis.

  • J.P. Howell threw 722 fastballs and missed only 24 bats. He also posted a 2.22 ERA and 9+ K/9 over 89.1 innings despite being a soft-tossing lefty facing predominantly right-handed batters. Having him and Chad Bradford in the same bullpen gives the Rays a unique bit of flavor. Pairing them with Grant Balfour is funny to me.

  • Felix posted the same swinging strike rate on his fastball as Tom Gorzelanny.

  • Craig Hansen and Bobby Jenks: blazing fastballs, tons of contact. Remember, kids: velocity isn't everything.

  • I can't imagine what it feels like to be one of the 20 starters last year who missed fewer bats with their fastballs than Jamie Moyer.