As of today, the Arizona Fall League has been underway for over a month. Two stadiums in that league, located in Peoria and Surprise, are equipped with PITCHf/x cameras, all manner of data from which is available at Daren Willman’s site MLB Farm.
What follows is a pair of leaderboards featuring the top velocities among those AFL pitchers — both overall, and also among starters only — who’ve appeared at either of the two aforementioned stadiums. Following those leaderboards are three observations of limited merit.
The pitch type FF denotes a four-seam fastball; FT, a two-seamer. Count denotes the number of the relevant pitch type to have been recorded by PITCHf/x cameras.
Here are the top average velocities among all Arizona Fall League pitchers:
And here the top average velocities among only those AFL pitchers who’ve recorded at least half their appearances in a starting capacity:
Observations of Limited Merit
• The leader among all AFL pitchers by average velocity, right-handed San Francisco prospect Ray Black, is also the only one to have recorded a single pitch above 100 mph. His top fastball was recorded at 102.3 mph, actually. A seventh-round selection out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, Black missed both the 2012 and -13 seasons to what might be most accurately characterized as a cavalcade of injuries. He’s missed less time the past two seasons, however, and given the arm speed, is likely not far from the majors.
Here’s Black touching 100 mph no fewer than twice in the Fall Stars game:
• Responsible for the second-fastest pitch to have been recorded by PITCHf/x is also the only starter to occupy a place among the overall hardest throwers, right-handed St. Louis prospect Alex Reyes. This is not a surprise. Ranked 17th among all prospects by Kiley McDaniel in his midseason update, Reyes’s fastball also received a 65 future value grade from McDaniel. Just 20 this past season, the American-born Dominican produced a strikeout rate of 36.5% over 101.1 innings between High- and Double-A. Reyes was recently given a 50-game suspension following a second positive test for marijuana pot.
• While having been utilized in a relief role this fall, all three of Connor Sadzeck, Josh Hader, and Domingo Acevedo — members of the Texas, Milwaukee, and New York Yankees systems, respectively — worked primarily as starters this past season. While the latter two pitchers both appeared within Kiley McDaniel’s organizational lists last offseason, Sadzeck was absent from them. Not surprising entirely, that, on account of he missed all of 2014 and hadn’t necessarily shown this much sustained velocity previously. Also notable with regard to the right-hander: his surname sounds like a German person saying “sad sack.”
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.