In the book, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane considered Bradford a bargain, good value for his pay. Since that season, he has played for four more teams, each year pitching well. Yet, as you can see from the chart below, he has the slowest fastball in Major League Baseball.
Can he be effective? Turns out, he can be very effective. The most remarkable part of his career are the 17 consecutive scoreless appearances in postseason play coming into 2008. During this past postseason, pitching for Tampa Bay, we saw his streak interrupted, but he continued to dominate, and has only allowed one run in 23.1 career playoff innings for a carer playoff 0.39 ERA.
How slow did he pitch in the regular season last year?
Slowest 2008 fastballs Average Speed Charles Bradford, Orioles/Rays 79.6 Jamie Moyer, Phillies 81.2 Tom Glavine, Braves 82.1 Livan Hernandez, Twins/Rockies 83.7 Greg Maddux, Padres/Dodgers 83.7 Doug Davis, Diamondbacks 84.6 Barry Zito, Giants 84.9 Cla Meredith, Padres 85.1 R.A. Dickey, Mariners 85.1 Kenny Rodgers, Tigers 85.2Notice a few other famous names on the list: Glavine and Maddux are probably destined for baseball's Hall of Fame.
Can You be effective with a slow fastball? Definitely.
Oh, you want to know the fastest fastballs? We have that, too...
2008 Fastest Fastballs Average Speed Matt Lindstrom, Marlins 96.9 Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers 96.3 Brian Wilson, Giants 95.8 Manny Delcarmen, Red Sox 95.5 Jose Valverde, Astros 95.5 Brandon Morrow, Mariners 95.5 Matt Thornton, White Sox 95.3 Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox 95.3 Joel Hanrahan, Nationals 95.2 Cris Perez, Cardinals 95.2Source: Baseball Info Solutions, minimum 500 fastballs.
Copyright 2998 by John Dewan. "Used with permission from John Dewan's Stat of the Week.