Paul Skenes’ Velocity Could Break MLB Starting Pitching Records


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Paul Skenes’ MLB debut was not him at his best.

He struggled to control his fastball, something that generally isn’t an issue for him.

But even in a start that saw him lifted in the fifth inning, he reinforced something that was obvious from his time at Louisiana State and his brief stint in the minors: he’s one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers we’ve ever seen.

With A’s closer Mason Miller regularly getting to 103 mph and eight different MLB relievers touching 102 mph this year, it’s easy to lose track of how rare it is to see a starting pitcher tickle triple digits. Skenes sat at 100.1 mph with his fastball in his debut. That’s almost two mph harder than any starter in 2024 (Jose Soriano’s 98.4 mph average fastball velocity is second best).

Just one start into his MLB career, Skenes has thrown six 101 mph pitches. In the Statcast pitch tracking era (2008-2024) there have been only 13 MLB starting pitchers who have thrown more than that in their MLB careers. 

Here’s a look at the starting pitchers with the most 101+ mph pitches thrown in the Statcast era.

Player101+ mph Pitches
Greene, Hunter RHP131
deGrom, Jacob RHP50
Verlander, Justin RHP46
Hicks, Jordan RHP31
Ventura, Yordano RHP27
Syndergaard, Noah RHP26
Eovaldi, Nathan RHP16
Ohtani, Shohei RHP11
Cole, Gerrit RHP10
Ashcraft, Graham RHP9
Miller, Bobby RHP8
Jiménez, Ubaldo RHP7
Miller, Mason RHP7
Alcantara, Sandy RHP6
Skenes, Paul RHP6
Martinez, Carlos RHP6

Skenes has already thrown 17 pitches 100 mph, which puts him in a tie for 27th by an MLB starter. He was likely amped up with adrenaline in his MLB debut, but Skenes averaged 14 100+ mph pitches per Triple-A start this year.

Here’s a look at the leaderboard for 100+ mph pitches by an MLB starter since 2008.

Pitcher100+ mph PitchesPitcher100+ mph Pitches
Greene, Hunter RHP455Castillo, Diego RHP44
deGrom, Jacob RHP318Severino, Luis RHP43
Syndergaard, Noah RHP245Paxton, James LHP43
Ventura, Yordano RHP226Miller, Mason RHP38
Verlander, Justin RHP205Strasburg, Stephen RHP29
Eovaldi, Nathan RHP163Soriano, José RHP28
Miller, Bobby RHP140McClanahan, Shane LHP25
Alcantara, Sandy RHP130Cashner, Andrew RHP25
Cole, Gerrit RHP127Hernández, Carlos RHP25
Martinez, Carlos RHP99Rodriguez, Grayson RHP22
Hicks, Jordan RHP92Skenes, Paul RHP17
Jiménez, Ubaldo RHP91Fujinami, Shintaro RHP17
Ohtani, Shohei RHP75Graterol, Brusdar RHP17
Strider, Spencer RHP51Glasnow, Tyler RHP15
Ashcraft, Graham RHP49De La Rosa, Rubby RHP13

Counting Triple-A, Skenes has already thrown 115 100 mph pitches this season in just eight starts. Only nine starters have thrown 100+ 100 mph pitches in their MLB careers in the Statcast era.

The closest comparison for Skenes is Reds righthander Hunter Greene. Greene holds the crown of being the hardest-throwing starter of the Statcast era. He is the only starter with 10+ 102 mph pitches (he has 11). Greene and Yordano Ventura share the crown for the hardest fastball thrown by a true starter at 102.6 mph. (Jordan Hicks did top 103 mph in a 1.2-inning outing as an opener in 2022).

Greene has seven starts in the majors where he’s sat at 100+ mph with his fastball, much like Skenes did in his debut. But Greene’s path is a reminder that this type of velocity can be fleeting. Six of his seven starts where he sat at 100+ mph came in 2022. He had one last year and so far has none this year. Greene still throws exceptionally hard, but he now sits at 97.9 mph with his fastball compared to 98.9 in 2022 and 98.3 in 2023.

Skenes’ long-term success will depend on more than just throwing exceptionally hard, but hitting 100+ mph is hard for even the best big league hitters. Skenes’ exceptional velocity gives him an advantage that will make him a true challenge.

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