Stephen Strasburg, David Price are this year’s hardest throwers

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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.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics