Pitching is a position of skill, strategy and accuracy. Even as the position continues to evolve, the fastest pitcher in the league continues to fascinate fans, a question that arises as pitchers hit his triple figures in a row in the modern game. How hard can a human throw?
The fastest pitch ever recorded in MLB belongs to Aroldis Chapman. Dubbed the “Cuban Missile,” Chapman hit a pitch of 105.8 mph on Sept. 24, 2010.
The record for the fastest pitch in history may continue to be broken as pitchers continue to throw harder and harder.
“Aroldis Chapman, 105.1 mph fastball (2010)” – Rob Friedman
Three pitchers averaged over 100 mph on fastballs during the 2022 season, and two others were close to breaking triple digits. Let’s take a closer look at the five fastest pitchers in MLB last season.
#1 Joan Duran was the fastest pitcher in MLB last season (100.8 mph)
It was a memorable rookie season for Joan Duran and the Minnesota Twins. The 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic has pitched 67.2 innings and eight saves for the Twins as he set a record of 2-4. He also had 89 strikeouts while posting a 1.86 ERA.
The electric right-hander averaged 100.8 mph with his fastball last season. Durán may find himself in a closer role for the Twins in 2023 after struggling after Jorge Lopez acquired him from the Baltimore Orioles.
“You see, Joan Duran is throwing 103.” -MLB
#2 Andrés Munoz, 100.2 mph
Andres Munoz enjoyed a true breakout season last season with the Seattle Mariners. The hardball right-hander averaged the second-fastest pitch last year, finishing his year with an average fastball speed of 100.2 mph.
Munoz became a key member of the Mariners’ bullpen, helping Seattle reach the postseason for the first time since 2001. The emergence of 23-year-old Muñoz also allowed the team to turn over his fellow reliever Eric Swanson to his Toronto Blue Jays.
#3 Jordan Hicks, 100.1mph
Jordan Hicks, the last pitcher to average triple figures, struggled with the St. Louis Cardinals. Unlike Joan Duran and Andrés Muñoz, Hicks had a difficult season, going 3-6 with a 4.84 ERA with the Cardinals.
He averaged over 100 mph on his fastball, but his ERA left St. Louis much to be desired. He struck out 63 in 61.1 innings.
“Jordan Hicks is doing a wiffle ball move!” – St. Louis Cardinals
#4 Emmanuel Krace, 99.9 mph
You might think MLB statisticians would only give him a 0.1 mph increase, but Emmanuel Crace averaged 99.9 mph on his fastball in 2022. He had 42 saves last season, leading the MLB.
The 24-year-old was a force when he entered the game out of the bullpen. In 72.2 innings, Kress had 42 saves and he had 77 strikeouts, while Cleveland he posted a 1.36 ERA with the Guardians.
“Emmanuel Claes and Edwin Diaz. Big gap. Everybody else.” – Lamor
#5 Ryan Helsley, 99.6 mph
The fifth and final pitcher on this list, Ryan Helsley, averaged 99.6 mph on a fastball last year for the St. Louis Cardinals. His second Cardinal on this list, Helsley enjoyed a better season than his teammate Jordan Hicks, posting a staggering 1.25 ERA.
He has the slowest average fastball speed on this list, but last season he recorded the fastest pitch in MLB. The 28-year-old reached 104 mph on a fastball against his San Diego Padres’ Josh his Bell. He also recorded 103.4 mph, 103.2 mph and 102.9 mph (twice).