Jeremy King: King, with a fastball that sits between 89-92 MPH and tops out around 93 MPH, has right now, about an average big league fastball or slightly above. The big righty likes to attack hitters with fastballs and isn't afraid to be aggressive with it inside. More often than not, King uses a four-seam fastball and he routinely throws that in the low 90's.
Tyler Clippard: Throughout his minor league career, Clippard has slowly added ticks to his fastball and suddenly has one of the better heaters in the farm system. While it is not a blazing fastball, Clippard does sits around 90-92 MPH, reaching as high as 94 MPH on the gun. He does sometimes get in trouble by leaving his four-seam fastball up in the zone where it flattens out, resulting in deep fly balls and home runs. But, as he continues to fill out his lanky frame, T-Clip's fastball may even pick up even a couple more miles per hour.
Abel Gomez: Abel Gomez once seemed like a lock to have a slot somewhere in the top ten, but after his 2005 implosion, he'll need to earn his way back in 2006. His command fell apart and, soon after, his velocity slipped as well. With inconsistency throughout his game, his mid-90's fastball wasn't consistent either in his disastrous second half last season.
Top Ten Fastballs For Starting Pitchers
10) Matt Desalvo: Desalvo has the ability to add and subtract ticks to his fastball, but when he really lets go one of his four-seamers, he is able to reach 94 MPH. But, the reason he takes this number ten spot is because of his movement and ability to work off his fastball with great success. He sits more consistently in the 88-92 MPH range, but his movement and aggressiveness give him the nod.
9) Rolando Japa: One of the talented group of power arms on the Gulf Coast Yankee pitching staff in 2005, Japa showed some of the most consistent velocity. Sitting at 90-92 MPH, touching as high as 95 MPH, Japa opened quite a few eyes after toiling in the Dominican Summer League for two years. He showed good command with his heater and will only add more heat as he fills out his wiry frame. Eventually, he may be able to sit in the mid-90's.
8) Sean Henn: Henn has never brought his velocity back to the level that prompted the Yankees to give him a record shattering bonus. Yes, that 98 MPH fastball is nowhere to be found, but Sean still possesses a fastball that sits at 91-93 MPH, touching 95 MPH on occasion. However, many speculate that if used out of the bullpen, his velocity could come close to its former level.
7) Alan Horne: Although he is yet to pitch in a professional game, Alan Horne lived up to his expectations in the Yankees' fall mini-camp. It was there that the Yankees saw, first hand, the 92-95 MPH fastball that has made Horne a hot commodity since high school. He could make a huge leap up this list once he can produce that velocity over the long stretches in 2006.
6) Francisco Castillo: This 19-year old righty burst onto the scene in 2005 with the Gulf Coast Yankees and proved to be a vital member of their championship team. He brought a plus fastball that ranges between 91-94 MPH, reaching as high as 95 MPH. He is still a raw product, but the Yankees are anxious to see what Castillo's velocity may look like a couple years down the road.
|MARQUEZ HAS NASTY SINK: Marquez throws a mean 2-seam fastball with great sinking action. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
4) Steve White: Following a big velocity jump in 2004, Steve White has since become much more of a power pitcher that can eat up innings for any team when he's healthy. While he is not a prolific strikeout pitcher, White attacks the zone with an excellent moving fastball that sits in the 90-94 MPH range, touching 96 MPH on occasion. He didn't have that good fastball back until late in the AA season in 2005 but it showed up big time in the Arizona Fall League.
3) Garrett Patterson: There was no one in the Yankees' 2005 draft class that had a more explosive heater than Garrett Patterson. As we know, power pitching lefties are a rare and desirable commodity so the Yankees are excited about the possibilities with Garrett. His powerful leg drive produces a fastball that sits at 93-94 MPH and he cranked it up to 97 MPH on a few occasions in Staten Island. Like many hard throwers, the key will be command and finding the strike zone.
2) Christian Garcia: Garcia, possibly the highest ceiling arm in the entire Yankee farm system, was moved to the mound in high school because of his truly electrifying arm. And, to this day, he is still turning heads with his heat. Christian sits between 92-95 MPH, touching as high as 97 MPH. Perhaps the only thing that keeps him from the top spot in this list is his command. If he can improve his command, he could easily have the best heater in the farm system.
1) Phil Hughes: There is a fairly large group of minor league pitchers that may throw as hard, if not harder and Phil Hughes, but there are few that can match his combination of power and command. Hughes, still months short of his 20th birthday, brings a fastball that sits between 93-95 MPH, topping out at 97 MPH with command that is far beyond his years. The former 1st round pick could fool many into believing he's a veteran simply by how effective he is in commanding his heater. And, the scary thing is, he only figures to get stronger.