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What are they feeding Joel Zumaya?

October 26, 2006

Baseball Info Solutions has been tracking pitch velocity over the last five years, recording pitch speed on about 75% of over 3.5 million pitches thrown since the start of the 2002 season. Out of those 3.5 million pitches, less than 1,000 have been recorded at speeds of 100 miles per hour or better.

In the last five years, the 2006 season had more 100-MPH pitches than any other year and here's why:

Joel Zumaya 2006: 233 pitches at 100+ MPH
Rest of MLB 2006: 102 pitches at 100+ MPH

Detroit Tiger pitcher Joel Zumaya threw more than twice as many 100-MPH pitches than the rest of the league put together. In fact, his personal count of 233 pitches with at least three-digit velocity is more than any other season total for the entire league on record. Here are the number of pitches that hit the 100-MPH barrier in each of the last five seasons:

Season Number of Pitches 100+ MPH MLB Leader
MLB 2002 106 Billy Wagner - 42
MLB 2003 204 Billy Wagner - 159
MLB 2004 82 Kyle Farnsworth - 30
MLB 2005 134 Daniel Cabrera - 37
MLB 2006 335 Joel Zumaya - 233

Billy Wagner's total of 159 pitches at 100+ MPH in 2003 was quite impressive until Zumaya came along.

By the way, there has been some controversy of late that the radar gun used on Fox broadcasts may be a "fast" gun. We looked at the velocity readings from all 2006 regular season Fox broadcasts and found them to be in line with the rest of baseball.



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