The 12 Best Fastball Hitters in Recent MLB History
In sports, there's nothing quite like watching a major league hitter turn around a 90-plus mile-per-hour fastball. But who has been better than their peers in recent history? How do we decide?
Among many things, FanGraphs and its pitch type data allows us to measure a player's performance against a certain pitch. The site uses linear weights to provide a value above the league average based on total runs by pitch. However, that doesn't account for players with smaller sample sizes versus those with larger sample sizes against a particular pitch.
For that reason, the weighted total isn't enough. To eliminate the influence of sample size, we use FanGraphs' standardized runs by pitch, which takes player values over a 100-pitch basis. The result is a number representative of how many runs a player has produced per 100 pitches, or in this case, fastballs faced.
In order to separate the elite from the rest, a player had to average at least 1.8 standardized runs by pitch to make the cut.
From 12 to 1, the top fastball hitters are ranked according to standardized runs by pitch (wFB/C), accompanied by total runs produced by pitch (wFB), the percentage of pitches seen as fastballs (FB%) and average velocity (FBv) faced. Also listed is each player's career numbers in three key categories: weighted on-base percentage (wOBA), weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and wins above replacement (WAR).
Now that you know exactly what you're looking at, let's see which fastball-mashing hitter is the deadliest of them all!