Say Cheese: MLB Hitters Are Adjusting To Seeing 100 mph More Often
As crazy as it may seem, 100 mph isn’t what it used to be.
Because they have the choice of either adapting or being replaced, major league hitters have steadily figured out how to catch up to the hottest of high-octane heaters. There’s little novelty to a hitter stepping in to face a pitcher who can brush into the triple-digits. It’s part of the experience in both the minor leagues and major leagues.
By Double-A, a hitter who hasn’t shown he can catch up to velocity will get picked apart in leagues where the word gets around quickly (and there are plenty of pitchers who can regularly throw fastballs in the high 90s).
In the major leagues, hitters don’t exactly light up triple-digit fastballs, but they are now doing a better job of hitting them now than they did in the first half of the decade.
The table below summarizes big league hitters’ performance against pitches clocked at 100 mph or higher.
And against 102 mph or faster, hitters are starting show that they aren’t completely overmatched. From 2010-2014, batters hit only .071/.121/.083 against pitches that fast. From 2015-2019, they hit .136/.203/.208 against 102 mph or higher.
Over the first half of the decade, only one batter managed to scratch out an extra-base hit against 102 mph or faster. Since 2015, there have been three home runs and four doubles against that kind of velocity.
The three hitters to hit a home run against 102 mph are:
|Rafael Devers||Aroldis Chapman||102.8||Aug. 13, 2017|
|Kurt Suzuki||Aroldis Chapman||102.6||June 18, 2016|
|Jeimer Candelario||Jordan Hicks||102.1||Sept. 7, 2018|