I discovered this while playing around with the amazing, indispensable Baseball Savant:
There have been just nine pitching staffs in the eight-year PITCHf/x era that have thrown over 3,000 pitches at 95 miles per hour or faster: the 2013 Cardinals (young guns Martinez, Miller, Rosenthal, Siegrist), the 2012 Rays (David Price‘s Cy Young season), the 2009-2010 Tigers (peak Verlander), and five teams from the past two years. Or, put another way, over 8% of teams in 2014 and 2015 had pitchers throwing over 3,000 95+ mph pitches. In the prior six seasons, just over 2% of teams did so. Prior to 2008… What do you think? Maybe there were two or three teams, total, to throw that hard? Four? Five?
You don’t need to read another “Gee, they sure do throw hard these days” piece, of course. But it’s relevant for this year’s World Series. The Mets, rather famously, throw hard. They struck out 54 Dodgers in 44 innings in the Division Series and 37 Cubs in 36 innings in the Championship Series, compiling a 2.81 ERA over nine games. As you can see, they blew past the prior record for 95+ mph pitches in a season. With a World Series rotation of Matt Harvey (45% of all regular-season pitches 95 mph or faster), Jacob deGrom (30%), Noah Syndergaard (60%–that is not a typo) and Steven Matz (14%) and closer Jeurys Familia (67%), Las Vegas favors the Mets in the World Series.
As Mike Petriello of MLB.com has pointed out, Royals batters have had a lot of success against fast pitches (95+ mph), though less against really fast pitches (and they struggled against slow stuff). But, as can be seen above, the Royals (largely Yordano Ventura and the bullpen) throw pretty hard, too. They were second only to the Mets in the number of 95+ mph pitches thrown this season, with the fourth most in the PITCHf/x era. And the Mets’ record against 95+ mph heat isn’t nearly as impressive as Kansas City’s:
The Royals were first in the majors in batting average against 95+ mph pitches and second in slugging percentage. The Mets were 28th and 18th, respectively. Nearly 44% of the 95+ mph pitches Royals hitters saw were strikes (called, swinging, or fouls–the Swinging Strikes line above includes foul balls), but that figure was 50% for the Mets. The Royals’ .284/.436 BA/SLG split is roughly equivalent to this year’s regular season Daniel Murphy. The Mets’ .219/.374 is 2015 Logan Morrison territory.
So what’s the point? The Mets pitching staff is historically prodigious at generating 95+ mph pitches. Those pitches are tough to hit. But that cuts both ways, and Mets batters may have problems with the Royals’ hard heat.Next post: KC Royals vs NY Mets: A Slightly Different World Series Preview
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