Among starting pitchers anyway. Here’s the top 10 for fastball velocity among ERA qualifiers this season (data taken from Fangraphs):
1. Stephen Strasburg (Was) – 95.4 mph
2. David Price (TB) – 95.2
3. Danny Duffy (KC) – 95.0
4. Jeff Samardzija (ChC) – 94.7
5. Juan Nicasio (Col) – 94.1
6. Matt Garza (ChC) – 94.0
7. Neftali Feliz (Tex) – 93.9
8. Justin Verlander (Det) – 93.9
9. Kyle Drabek (Tor) – 93.8
10. Max Scherzer (Det) – 93.7
11. Daniel Hudson (Ari) – 93.7
– Verlander was the leader among full-time starters last year, coming in at 95.0, so he’s down a bit early. Right behind him last year was David Price at 94.8. Price is actually up a bit so far this season.
– Yu Darvish clocks in at 93.0 with his heater and 89.4 with his cutter.
– Tim Lincecum is down from 92.3 mph last year to 90.2 mph this year, according to Fangraphs data. Felix Hernandez has experienced a similar drop from 93.3 to 91.4.
– Interesting to note is that Mike Pelfrey just missed the list, coming in at 93.5 before landing on the DL today with swelling in his elbow. That’s a signficant increase from the 92.0 and 92.2 he was at the previous two years.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”