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Kelvin Herrera and the Hardest Throwers in the MLB This Season

Brian BelkoContributor IIIMay 11, 2012

Kelvin Herrera and the Hardest Throwers in the MLB This Season

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    Facing the hardest-throwing pitchers in the MLB is something that no batter enjoys doing. When a pitcher throws heat, a batter naturally has much less time to react.

    That is especially true if that pitcher can complement his go-to with good off-speed stuff. The greater the disparity in speed of the two pitches, the more foolish and miserable he will make batters appear at the plate.

    Here is a rundown of the 10 hardest-throwing pitchers in the MLB this season.

    *All stats via the incomparable services of FanGraphs.

Stephen Strasburg

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    While the Washington Nationals have surprised a lot of people this season, the live arm of young pitcher Stephen Strasburg has been no surprise at all.

    With an impressive stat line of a 3-0 record, 1.64 ERA and 51 K, Strasburg is certainly feeling no ill effects from his Tommy John surgery.

    Strasburg throws his fastball 64.7 percent of the time, with an average velocity of 95.7 mph. That is fast enough to blow by any major-league hitter.

Jeff Samardzija

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    Jeff Samardzija is quietly putting together a very solid season for the Chicago Cubs.

    He is currently 4-1, with an ERA of 3.03 and 39 strikeouts. Many of his strikeouts come courtesy of his blazing fastball.

    Samardzija's fastball has an average velocity of 94.7 mph and he throws it 53.8 percent of the time.

Neftali Feliz

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    With the potent Texas Rangers offense usually putting up plenty of runs behind him, Neftali Feliz has an easier job than most starting pitchers.

    However, that does not mean that he does not have dominating stuff.

    Feliz is currently 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 26K. Feliz throws his fastball 61.8 percent of the time at an average velocity of 94.7 mph.

    While some of those fastballs might get hit out of the park when he pitches at the hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, most of them are fast enough to get by hitters.

Matt Moore

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    The Tampa Bay Rays have some of the best young starting pitchers in the MLB. Between Matt Moore and David Price, they also have two of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in all of baseball.

    Although either of these two guys could have made this list, Matt Moore gets the nod over Price, the reason being that Moore throws his heater 71.9 percent of the time while Price throws his only 60.3 percent of the time.

    The fact that Moore throws his fastball so often and still maintains an average velocity of 94.2 mph is very impressive.

Justin Verlander

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    No list of the hardest-throwing pitchers in the MLB would be complete without the inclusion of Justin Verlander.

    Verlander is capable of hitting triple digits with his pitches at any point during a game, which is a feat not many other pitchers can duplicate.

    Verlander throws his fastball 57.8 percent of the time, at average velocity of 94.0 mph.

    However, when he needs to rear back and get an important out, Verlander has the stuff to throw a fastball by any hitter out there.

Alexi Ogando

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    The Texas Rangers have shuffled Alexi Ogando between the starting rotation and the bullpen in recent seasons. However, Ogando's throwing ability makes him a perfect fit for the 'pen.

    Pitching in relief allows Ogando to come at batters with everything, as he doesn't have to save anything for multiple innings.

    Ogando pumps his fastball to the plate at an average velocity of 96.8 mph and hitters see it 63.6 percent of the time.

    If the Rangers ever need help in the closer role, Ogando's blazing fastball makes him an ideal candidate.

Nate Jones

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    The Chicago White Sox have several hard-throwing pitchers in their bullpen, but the youngster Nate Jones takes the cake with the fastest average velocity.

    Jones throws his fastball 67.5 percent of the time and lights the radar guns up with an average fastball velocity of 96.8 mph.

    With that kind of speed, Jones has the makings of joining the elite ranks of relievers in the game.

Henry Rodriguez

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    In addition to Stephen Strasburg in their rotation, the Washington Nationals have a flame thrower coming out of their 'pen in Henry Rodriguez.

    Rodriguez relies on his fastball 74.0 percent  of the time, so hitters usually know what is coming.

    Still, with an average velocity of 98.3 mph, that does not mean that they can catch up with it.

    When Rodriguez comes in a game in relief of Strasburg, opposing hitters just don't catch a break from the heat.

Andrew Cashner

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    San Diego Padres relief pitcher Andrew Cashner narrowly missed out on the top spot on this list.

    His average fastball velocity of 98.6 mph is second among all pitchers in the MLB. When he comes in to hold a lead for the Padres, Cashner throws his fastball 71.6 percent of the time.

    That kind of velocity is rare among pitchers these days, definitely making it tough for major-league hitters to square up.

Kelvin Herrera

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    The Kansas City Royals have not had much to be proud of this season, but they do have the player that tops this list of the hardest throwers in the MLB.

    Right-handed relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera has a fastball that most pitchers can only dream about.

    Herrera comes out of the bullpen firing fastballs toward home plate at an average velocity of 99.1 mph. He frequently lights up radar guns with triple-digit heat.

    He throws his fastball 55.3 percent of the time, and opposing hitters are just thankful it isn't more.

     

     

    All stats courtesy of fangraphs.com.

     

    Follow me on Twitter @BrianBelko.

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