That list doesn't even include the likes of Tyler Clippard, Ian Kennedy, Brett Smith, Francisco Castillo, Phil Coke, Francisco Gil, and Jason Jones, all of whom average right around 90 MPH and can hit anywhere from 92-95 MPH at times.
Grant Duff: Duff is the epitome of the depth of power arms in the Yankees farm system. He sits in the 90-95 MPH range with a good hard fastball, and standing 6-foot-5, he throws downhill and gets a good angle with his heater. It remains to be seen if he'll get the 'T.J. Beam' treatment and be moved to the bullpen.
Daniel McCutchen: Like Duff, nobody knows if he'll get moved to the bullpen either. In whichever role however, he averages 91-93 MPH with his fastball and can touch 96 MPH at times and he gets great sinking life with his two-seam fastball as well.
Rolando Japa: Japa tired down the stretch and his command wasn't as good in 2006 as it was the year before, disguising the fact he has a very effective fastball that sits 91-93 MPH and can hit 95 MPH at times. He gets a ton of movement with his fastball and that led to some command issues last season.
Matthew DeSalvo: Like Japa, DeSalvo sits in the low-90's with his fastball and can hit the 95 MPH plateau on occasion. And just like Japa, DeSalvo gets sick movement with his heater and that sometimes leads to inconsistent command of his fastball.
Ross Ohlendorf: He might not be able to hit the mid-90's like the other names on this list, but at 6-foot-4, he throws a devastating sinking two-seam fastball that consistently sits 90-92 MPH with impeccable command.
|Angel Reyes has a plus fastball and trails only Garrett Patterson for top velocity for a lefty. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
Zach McAllister: Primarily a sinker-baller who sits in the 90-93 MPH range with great command, McAllister has some more work to do on his four-seam fastball to become a more complete power pitcher. There is little or no variation in velocity between the two fastballs and he'll need that to give batters a different look. But he's got the basics down already.
Tim Norton: Averaging 92-94 MPH with his fastball and able to hit 95-96 MPH at times, Norton can bring his heater with the best of them. He improved the command of his fastball in the second-half of the Staten Island season last year and he'll be one to watch in the coming years.
George Kontos: Sitting 92-95 MPH with his fastball in college, Kontos was more in the 90-93 MPH range in Staten Island last season with great control. Most scouts believe he'll return to his college velocity and he's at the top of the list for breakout candidates in 2007.
Top Ten Fastballs For Starting Pitchers
10) Alan Horne: Horne sits in the 92-94 MPH range with his fastball, topping out around 95-96 MPH. The development of a very good sinking two-seamer however has made his fastball combination even more effective and, now both a contact pitcher and a strikeout artist, he is a more complete power arm.
9) Ivan Nova: Nova, who once sat mostly in the upper-80's with his fastball, now averages 91-94 MPH with Clippard-like control of his heater. And at 6-foot-4, he throws downhill and that makes it tough on opposing batters. Considering he is just 20 years old, it's not beyond the realm of possibility he could improve his fastball a tick or two more in the future.
|Steven White is often overlooked despite owning a plus fastball. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
7) Jeff Marquez - Sure there are guys that throw harder than Marquez, but there are few with a nastier sinking two-seamer than the one he possesses. He's able to hit 95 MPH with his four-seamer but he's at his best when he peppers the lower-half of the strike zone with sinkers in the 91-93 MPH range, a pitch he has great control of.
6) Garrett Patterson - Like Duff and McCutchen, Patterson could eventually find himself in the bullpen where the Yankees might make better use of his 92-95 MPH fastball that also tops out at 97 MPH...from the left side! He also throws a power sinker as well. Velocity and movement-wise, he could rank higher on this list but nagging injuries have not allowed him to work on his somewhat inconsistent command of his fastball.
|Christian Garcia could theoretically come back from Tommy John surgery throwing even harder. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
4) Humberto Sanchez - Able to sit 92-95 MPH with his four-seam fastball, what makes Sanchez even more effective is his outstanding two-seamer with great sinking action that averages 92-93 MPH consistently. Inconsistent mechanics however sometimes do lead to spotty command of his fastball but if anybody can fix his mechanics it's Nardi Contreras and Dave Eiland.
3) Joba Chamberlain: Like most of the power pitchers in the Yankees farm system, Chamberlain averages 92-95 MPH and can hit the high-90's at times. But what makes Chamberlain so special is his quick arm action, giving opposing batters the look and feel his fastball is coming in even harder. He showed pinpoint control of his fastball in the Hawaiian Winter League with excellent movement. If he can repeat that performance in 2007 and beyond, he'll shoot to the top of prospect rankings in a hurry.
2) Dellin Betances: Like Chamberlain, Betances can hit the high-90's with regularity. Averaging 94-96 MPH with his four-seam fastball and topping out at 98 MPH as a teenager, there isn't a harder thrower in the Yankees organization. And like Chamberlain, while his command of his fastball was impeccable last season, there is still some work to be done on his mechanics to make his command more consistent.
1) Phil Hughes: While there might be a couple of prospects (Chamberlain and Betances) who can throw harder, nobody has Phil's combination of power and control. Averaging 92-95 MPH with his fastball and topping out around 97 MPH with his heater, he can spot his fastball at will in all four quadrants of the plate. He just turned 20 years old last summer and there exists the possibility he could add to his velocity, but with his impeccable command, it doesn't matter.