Red Sox righthander Michael Kopech threw one of the fastest pitches in pro baseball history on Wednesday.
It lacks the precision of Aroldis Chapman’s 105.1 mph fastball recorded by Trackman on Sept. 24, 2010 (the fastest pitch of the Trackman era), but Kopech reached 105 on a pair of radar guns.
What’s even more amazing is Kopech did it as a starter who threw five innings.
Kopech sat at 98 mph last night, but he touched 100 mph and beyond on a regular basis. That’s nothing new for a pitcher who sat at 100 mph in his high Class A debut for four innings at Carolina.
But even for a pitcher who regularly throws 100 plus, the 105 jumped off the page when the Salem pitchers turned in their charts after the game.
“We did have a reading of 105. We double-checked. Another gun beside ours had 105 as well,” Salem manager Joe Oliver said.
Salem’s ballpark does not have a radar reading on its scoreboard, so the moment passed without anyone but a few players in the stands knowing that they had just watched one of the fastest pitches ever thrown.
“Your eye is not trained to see 105. You’ve never seen it before unless it’s off some sort of machine,” Oliver said. “I couldn’t say that one pitch was harder than any other he threw. A couple you could tell were quicker. (Was it) 101 or 103? You couldn’t pick out which one was 105.”
Kopech allowed a single, a wild pitch on a strikeout that allowed the batter to reach and a walk that loaded the bases in the first. A groundout and a strikeout got him out of that jam. After that, Kopech faced two batters over the minimum in his final four innings of work.
“That’s typical for a young power arm guy,” Oliver said. “He started settling in and found a good grove. He was probably a little amped up for his first home start. He had some extra adrenaline flowing and found the zone.”
Kopech ended up allowing just four hits and one walk in five shutout innings. He struck out eight.
“I believe he could have gone 6 (innings) but we didn’t want to push it,” Oliver said.
Kopech missed the first half of the season because he broke his hand in a fight with a teammate. He has now thrown nine scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts, four walks and five hits.
“It’s a shame. You’re looking at a kid who got a little sidetracked in spring training,” Oliver said. “He might have thrown up some pretty decent numbers and advanced to the next level. We told him, don’t try to make up for lost time. Learn from it.”