The Best Fastballs in MLB
The baseball world has become more fascinated with gravity-defying breaking pitches, but there is still nothing more effective than an overpowering fastball..
By Zach Smith
So far, we’ve looked into which pitchers have the best changeups, curveballs and sliders, but now we have finally reached the hard stuff. Now, we look at which pitchers have the best fastballs in MLB.
Nestor Cortes – NYY
What makes Nestor’s fastball unhittable is the lack of vertical drop on the way to the plate. It drops 2.3 inches less than other fastballs, so hitters expect it to drop way more.
Josh Hader – MIL
Hader threw his fastball two-thirds of the time and got a whiff on 40% of swings. He gained two MPH of velocity going into 2021, turning an amazing pitch into a demonizing fastball.
Everything about Hader’s delivery is deceptive. His release point comes out of right field, and he hides the ball until release, so by the time the hitter picks it up, it’s in the catcher’s glove.
Jacob deGrom – NYM
Jacob deGrom’s four-seamer averaged an MLB-best 99.2 MPH. Injuries aside, 2021 deGrom possessed one of the most dominant pitches ever seen.
In four out of his 15 starts, he threw more than 70% fastballs, and on two separate occasions, he averaged more than 100 MPH on his fastball for the entire game!
Freddy Peralta – MIL
One way to know that Peralta’s fastball is nasty is to look at the whiffs he gets in the middle of the zone. He gets hitters to swing through pitches that are right down the plate.
He’s another arm that hides his fastball under a layer of deception, tunneling it with a wipeout slider and a blossoming changeup. There’s a reason why he is Just Baseball’s #13 ranked pitcher.
Lance Lynn – CWS
Lynn threw some variation of a fastball on 92% of pitches last season, mixing together four-seamers up and away, cutters on the outer half and sinkers down and in.
In 2021, Lynn cut back on the usage of his four-seam, and increased usage of his cutter, which closely resembles a slider. This kept hitters off balance, making his four-seamer all the more valuable.
Alek Manoah – Toronto Blue Jays
A newcomer on the scene, Manoah enjoyed a fantastic start to his major league career, putting up a 3.22 ERA across 111.2 innings for the Jays.
Manoah’s “signature pitch” is his frisbee slider that moves 15 inches horizontally, but don’t sleep on his four-seamer that allowed a .200 batting average and a .172 expected batting average.