High-end pitch velocity is one of the most aesthetically pleasing aspects of baseball. There aren’t many better visuals than watching a pitcher blow an overpowering fastball past a hitter.
There’s more than just the aesthetics. Sometimes, pitchers find themselves in counts and situations where they need to reach back for something extra. Max velocity tells us just how much arm strength a pitcher has—or had at one point.
Here are the hardest pitches current Mets pitchers have thrown in the big leagues as a member of the Mets, measured by PITCHf/x’s tracking system.
Hardest pitches thrown by Mets pitchers
|Pitcher||Miles per hour||Date||Opposing Batter|
|Pitcher||Miles per hour||Date||Opposing Batter|
|Noah Syndergaard||101.4||10/10/2015||Adrian Gonzalez|
|Jeurys Familia||100.4||8/30/2015||Mookie Betts|
|Matt Harvey||100.1||6/18/2013||Jason Heyward|
|Hansel Robles||99.5||5/30/2015||Giancarlo Stanton|
|Jacob deGrom||99.1||7/21/2015||Bryce Harper|
|Zack Wheeler||98.5||5/2/2014||Wilin Rosario|
|Josh Smoker||98.4||8/27/2016||Odubel Herrera|
|Steven Matz||97.2||9/18/2015||Brett Gardner|
|Seth Lugo||96.8||8/12/2016||Travis Janikowski|
|Robert Gsellman||96||9/14/2016||Anthony Rendon|
|Addison Reed||95.2||5/7/2016||Brett Wallace|
|Gabriel Ynoa||95||9/12/2016||Wilson Ramos|
Noah Syndergaard: 101.4 mph vs the Dodgers on 10/10/2015
Noah Syndergaard’s first playoff start against the Dodgers was incredible from a pure stuff standpoint. He tapped into his extra velocity reserve for the playoffs, his average fastball velocity jumped about 1.5 mph from the regular season, and he threw ten pitches over 100 mile per hour in this start alone after only throwing three throughout the entire regular season. The amount of purely defensive swings Dodgers hitters took at his fastball was amazing. Batters were just trying to survive the at-bat rather than hunt for a pitch to drive.
Syndergaard matched this max velocity in an April 2016 start against the Phillies, during which he threw 12 pitches over 100 mph, the most he’s had in a start in his career. Here’s a look at the pitch that matched the one above:
Matt Harvey: 100.1 mph vs Braves on 6/18/2013
Some max velocities have no rhyme or reason to them; they just happen in the flow of a start. But there’s a story behind Harvey’s max velocity reading.
Harvey threw the hardest pitch of his career on what was dubbed “Super Tuesday.” Top-ten global prospect Zack Wheeler was making his major league debut in the nightcap of a doubleheader in Atlanta on a Tuesday in June, and Harvey started the day game. He pitched with a furious rampage that day, striking out 13 of the 26 batters he faced, an obscene 50% strikeout rate. The fact that Wheeler was consistently ranked ahead of Harvey on prospect lists with most pundits calling Wheeler the better of the two prospects probably had something to do with the timing. There’s no way to measure this, but it looks like Harvey took a swagger of “I’ll show you who the better pitcher is” to the mound that day.
Unfortunately, Harvey’s injuries, and probably the velocity aging curve, have slowed down some of that high-end velocity. The hardest pitch he threw in the 2016 regular season was 98.3 mph, down from 99.4 mph in his post-Tommy John surgery season and 100.1 mph before his Tommy John surgery. After having surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, Harvey’s top velocity may dip further in 2017.
Jeurys Familia: 100.4 mph vs Red Sox on 8/30/2015
Familia had gradually increased his max velocity in every season in the big leagues until 2016. He maxed out at 97.8 mph in 2012, then went up to 98.3 mph in 2013, 99.2 mph in 2014, and 100.4 mph in 2015 before settling back down to 99.3 mph in 2016.
Hansel Robles: 99.5 mph vs Marlins on 5/30/2015
Robles’s 99.5 mph fastball, which was rounded up to 100 mph on the TV broadcast, is the third-highest max velocity recorded by a Mets reliever in the PITCHf/x era. Only prime Bobby Parnell and Jeurys Familia have recorded a higher max velocity since PITCHf/x debuted in 2008.
Jacob deGrom: 99.1 mph vs Nationals on 7/21/2015
This was deGrom’s first start after his famous All-Star appearance where he struck out the side on ten pitches, the only pitcher to ever do that in an All-Star game.
deGrom’s max velocity fell about two miles per hour in 2016 after battling a lat injury early in the spring, but he built velocity as the season went along and eventually topped out at 97 mph in the summer after topping out at 95 in April.
Zack Wheeler: 98.5 mph vs Rockies on 5/02/2014
At the time of this pitch, Wheeler’s 98.5 mph fastball was the hardest pitch thrown by a non-Matt Harvey Mets starter in the PITCHf/x era. Only Bobby Parnell and Matt Harvey had recorded a higher fastball velocity reading to that point. Syndergaard and deGrom have since shattered it, but it was an impressive feat at the time.
Josh Smoker: 98.4 mph vs Phillies on 8/27/2016
Steven Matz: 97.2 mph vs Yankees on 9/18/2015
Left-handed pitchers average about one mile per hour less on their fastballs.
Seth Lugo: 96.8 mph vs Padres on 08/12/2016
I saw Seth Lugo reach back for 94 mph at the 75-pitch mark in a start in Trenton in the summer of 2015 after sitting 88-91 for most of the game. I thought his velocity might play up in a relief role but didn’t expected it to touch 97.
Robert Gsellman: 96.0 vs Nationals on 9/14/2016
This pitch is Gsellman’s two-seamer/sinker, and as you can see in the GIF, it’s really good. He generated a 64% ground ball rate when throwing it, above the major league average of 54% on sinkers. He held opponents to a .670 OPS on the pitch, which is also better than average for a sinker.
Addison Reed: 95.2 mph vs Padres on 5/07/2016
Reed tops out at 95, but it appears faster to the hitter because of how he hides the ball in his delivery.
Gabriel Ynoa: 95.0 mph vs Nationals on 9/12/2016
Ynoa hit his max velocity in relief after coming in to mop up a disastrous Rafael Montero start.