Today we move onto prospect pitcher fastball velocity. THE BOARD gives us the ability to view the velocity range in which a prospect sits, with a low and high number. We’re going to check out the leaders in the “Sits – High” mark, which is simply the high end of the velocity range the prospect pitcher sits in. This is not the same as max velocity, but where the pitcher more regularly keeps his fastball at. Not surprisingly, I found that the Sits – High mark had a 0.20 correlation with strikeout rate, which isn’t overly significant, but still meaningful. Velocity matters, and we knew that.
Now here are the nine prospects who regularly reach as high as 99 MPH with their fastballs.
|Name||Org||Age||Top 100||Org Rk||FV||Sits – High|
Melvin Adon is one of just five who earned a perfect 80 grade on his fastball, and now we know one of the reasons why. He’s also one of just threw whose fastball regularly sits at least 100 MPH. I am assuming he added quite a bit of velocity upon transitioning into relief full-time. Control remains the hurdle here though.
Nate Pearson is easily the best prospect on this list, earning the only FV above 50. He also regularly hits 100 MPH, but that hasn’t translated into strikeouts or whiffs just yet. Depending on what happens with the MLB season, we could see Pearson open the season in the Blue Jays rotation. I would be tempted to sell high on him in keeper leagues and shy away from him at a likely inflated going rate in single season leagues given the strikeout rate and SwStk% crash at Triple-A, though it came over a tiny sample.
Andres Munoz is the third prospect who regularly sat at 100 MPH, but sadly he underwent TJ surgery in mid-March, so who knows how his velocity recovers when he returns.
There’s Brusdar Graterol, who has been all over these lists. Not only does he have many exciting attributes, whether it’s pitches or underlying skills like ground ball rate, but he gets his fastball up to 99 MPH on a consistent basis. The move to the National League also boosts his future mixed league value.
Jhoan Duran earned his 70 grade fastball partly thanks to a pitch he throws at 99 MPH. He also induces gobs of grounders, and generated an insane 20.2% SwStk% over a relatively small sample at Double-A last season. With improved velocity, he really broke out in 2018 and looks like an exciting fantasy prospect.
I see you again Sixto Sanchez, a prospect who has appeared on several previous lists as well. I think he’ll be just fine in fantasy, but due to his mediocre strikeout rate, will likely be a better real life pitcher than fantasy one. Big velocity does offer us hope that he could generate more whiffs and push that strikeout rate higher.
Boy, Riley Pint has one of the craziest stat profiles I have ever seen. With a 70 grade fastball that reaches 99 MPH, and a 60 grade slider, expectations should be high. Except he pairs that with bottom of the barrel 20 grade command. You know what 20 grade command is? A career minor league walk rate of 16.6%, including a “no, this isn’t a typo” 31.6% mark at Single-A over 17.2 innings. Control could improve overnight, but his strikeout rate and SwStk% haven’t matched up with his pitch grades, so he doesn’t even have whiffs to fall back on. He seems to be the most extreme example of a lottery ticket.
Albert Abreu throws hard, but that’s about it. It hasn’t led to strikeouts, his walk rates have been in double digits, and his ground ball rate keeps falling. Nothing to see here.
We have just 11 professional innings from Andrew Schultz, who was drafted in 2019, but he owns a 70 grade fastball, and nothing else. Let’s give him some time to develop more, but at least a fastball that gets up to 99 MPH consistently is a great start.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.