It was only a little less than a month ago that reports surfaced about Aroldis Chapman unleashing a 105-mph fastball during an appearance with Triple-A Louisville. Many doubted the legitimacy of the gun at the time — and rightfully so — after all, we usually need to see these types of things to actually believe them.
Well, we can all believe now.
Chapman made history in last night’s loss to the Padres by throwing a 105-mph fastball. Check it out here.
As Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports tells us, it was the fastest pitch ever recorded in a major league game. The previous record was held by Joel Zumaya, who threw a 104.8-mph fastball during a playoff game on October 10, 2006. Chapman’s pitch actually topped out at 105.1 mph, according to Brooks Baseball.
Chapman threw 25 pitches in total last night, all of them over 100 mph. In perhaps the most entertaining matchup of the night, Chapman got Adrian Gonzalez to swing-and-miss on three consecutive pitches in the bottom of the seventh inning that reached 102 mph, 102 mph and 103 mph.
In addition to his history-making heater, the southpaw touched 104 mph on three occasions.
Here’s what opposing manager Bud Black told Dan Hayes of the North County Times after the jaw-dropping performance.
“I’ll go on record — that’s the best velocity fastball I’ve ever seen. That’s a legit No. 1.”
As for any doubts about the validity of the readings, Corey Brock, who covers the Padres for MLB.com, was told everything was on the up-and-up at PETCO.
“I’ve been told from several sources, team and otherwise, that this isn’t a case of a ‘hot’ gun. 105 mph here is really 105 mph.”
Okay, one final stat to blow you away. According to Gina Mizell of MLB.com, of the 159 pitches Chapman has thrown in the major leagues thus far, 74 of them have reached at least 100 mph. All you can really say is “wow.”
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.