During the offseason, the Marlins made sure that righthander Jorge Guzman was a key part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, even though Guzman had yet to throw a pitch in full-season ball.
There’s a lot to like about Guzman, but the simplest explanation for the 22-year-old’s allure is that he’s the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in baseball by a significant margin.
A source with access to Trackman data confirmed to Baseball America that Guzman threw 184 pitches at 100 mph or faster in 2017. In comparison, the hardest-throwing starter in the big leagues was the Yankees’ Luis Severino, who threw 23 pitches at 100 mph or faster, according to Baseball Savant’s Statcast search tool.
Guzman pitched at short-season Staten Island last year, so he threw just 1,015 pitches. That means that 18.1 percent of his pitches touched or topped the century mark. Severino reached triple digits 0.75 percent of the time. The only big leaguer to throw a higher percentage of 100 mph pitches was reliever Aroldis Chapman at 39.3 percent. In comparison, hard-throwing White Sox righthander Michael Kopech, one of the best arms in baseball, threw 100 or faster on 3.9 percent of his pitches.
Guzman is one of the standouts of our yearly update of the Century Club. Baseball America has found 81 minor league pitchers who threw 100 mph or harder in 2017 based on interviews with scouts and front office executives.
The Angels, Brewers, Indians and Red Sox were the only teams to not have a player hit 100 mph in 2017. The Pirates have the most fireballers with nine pitchers on their current rosters who touched 100 mph in 2017.
Pitchers are listed with their 2018 clubs. Lefthanders are denoted by an asterisk (*).
Astros: Jorge Alcala
Blue Jays: Nate Pearson
Cardinals: Conner Greene, Jordan Hicks
Diamondbacks: Jhoan Duran, Rubby de la Rosa
Mariners: Dan Altavilla
Mets: Tyler Bashlor, Gerson Bautista
Nationals: Jimmy Cordero
Orioles: Jesus Liranzo, Tanner Scott*
Phillies: Sixto Sanchez
Royals: Josh Staumont