If you've read some of my other articles, you may know that I'm a big numbers guy; I love sabermetrics and I love breaking down stats to analyze players.
When I set out to determine the best fastball hitters in baseball, I was immediately confronted with a choice; since players' stats on individual pitches were not counted before 2002, I had to decide whether to build this list based on numbers or reputation.
Being the numbers guy that I am, I decided to go strictly by the numbers (and thus this list is only from 2002 onwards).
Because I created this list by the numbers I am not saying that these are the best fastball hitters ever, but rather I am saying, statistically, these are the hitters that have been able to produce the most offensive production from a fastball since 2002.
Furthermore, this list is an overview since 2002 and so some players on the list may be on the decline, while other players who are absent from the list may be on the rise.
In order to fully determine a player's ability to handle a fastball, I've looked at three stat categories: Runs Above Average produced via a fastball pitched, Percentage of Fastballs seen, and the Average Velocity of all the fastballs thrown to the hitter.
Without further ado...