2013′s Top 10 Best & Worst Fastball Hitters

Allen Craig, MLB's #1 fastball hitter

Allen Craig, MLB’s #1 fastball hitter

It was said succinctly by one of the greatest hitters of all-time: You have to hit the fastball to play in the big leagues.

I think we are all smart enough to not doubt those words of Ted Williams.

Against the fastball this season, Allen Craig led the majors and Miguel Cabrera led the AL

This season, the number one fastball hitter in the majors was Allen Craig of the Cardinals who hit .413 when fed a fastball, nearly a hundred points higher than his overall average (.315). Craig saw 886 fastballs, but his second most frequently seen pitch, the slider, gave him loads of trouble. Against 397 sliders, Craig only hit .202.

Miguel Cabrera was the AL leader against fastballs, hitting .380 against the 1200 fastballs that came his way. Like Craig, the second most frequently seen pitch by the Tigers slugger was the slider, but Miggy hits everything and 426 sliders resulted in a .322 average.

2013 Top 10 Fastball Hitters
P AB H XBH HR K AVG OBP SLUG OPS
1. Allen Craig (STL) 886 223 92 24 8 29 .413 .480 .601 1.081
2. Miguel Cabrera (DET) 1,200 245 93 32 21 33 .380 .472 .682 1.154
3. Freddie Freeman (ATL) 1,057 264 98 33 15 42 .371 .425 .614 1.038
4. Shin-Soo Choo (CIN) 1,437 259 95 35 12 47 .367 .519 .602 1.121
5. Andrew McCutchen (PIT) 1,066 262 95 32 12 42 .363 .439 .580 1.019
6. Joe Mauer (MIN) 1,088 186 67 27 8 25 .360 .452 .591 1.043
7. Yadier Molina (STL) 799 228 81 25 3 23 .355 .382 .491 .873
8. Shane Victorino (BOS) 958 214 74 25 10 18 .346 .410 .565 .975
9. Jayson Werth (WSH) 1,122 206 71 28 17 37 .345 .443 .646 1.089
10. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) 1,324 283 97 40 22 64 .343 .430 .650 1.080

If there is a Top 10, there is also a Bottom 10

The honors for this season’s worst fastball hitters go to the Yankees’ Mark Reynolds and the Braves’ Andrelton Simmons. This is not a pretty list and includes well-known names such Dan Uggla, Nate McLouth, and Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs.

2013: 10 Worst Fastball Hitters
P AB H XBH HR K AVG OBP SLUG OPS
1. Mark Reynolds (NYY) 979 210 45 17 10 73 .214 .314 .390 .705
2. Andrelton Simmons (ATL) 1,121 285 62 26 10 21 .218 .283 .393 .676
3. Trevor Plouffe (MIN) 925 220 48 12 7 47 .218 .290 .336 .626
4. Darwin Barney (CHC) 1,109 242 54 17 2 29 .223 .300 .314 .614
5. Dan Uggla (ATL) 875 195 44 16 9 50 .226 .341 .400 .741
6. Nate McLouth (BAL) 1,196 277 63 19 6 38 .227 .315 .350 .665
7. Alcides Escobar (KC) 1,094 279 64 17 3 32 .229 .268 .326 .594
8. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 1,219 274 63 26 7 49 .230 .339 .380 .718
9. Adeiny Hechavarria (MIA) 1,082 254 59 11 1 42 .232 .288 .299 .588
10. Gregor Blanco (SF) 980 191 45 8 1 34 .236 .348 .293 .641

Six batters hit 20+ homers off fastballs this season

2013: 20+ Homers off Fastballs
P HR AVG OBP SLUG OPS
1. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) 1,324 22 .343 .430 .650 1.080
2. Miguel Cabrera (DET) 1,200 21 .380 .472 .682 1.154
3. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) 1,156 21 .310 .416 .637 1.053
4. Adam Dunn (CWS) 1,200 21 .279 .385 .588 .973
5. Pedro Alvarez (PIT) 1,012 20 .310 .374 .628 1.002
6. Alfonso Soriano (NYY) 1,069 20 .302 .361 .633 .994

Six players were struck out at least 70 times by fastballs

2013: 70+ Strikeouts by Fastballs
P K AVG OBP SLUG OPS
1. Chris Carter (HOU) 1,110 86 .245 .356 .511 .867
2. Mike Napoli (BOS) 1,282 79 .270 .389 .569 .958
3. Mark Trumbo (LAA) 1,183 78 .259 .311 .489 .800
4. Justin Upton (ATL) 1,219 75 .256 .371 .426 .797
5. Chris Davis (BAL) 1,263 75 .265 .370 .546 .916
6. Mark Reynolds (NYY) 979 73 .214 .314 .390 .705

Th Great Henry Aaron said…

“I looked for the same pitch my whole career, a breaking ball. All of the time. I never worried about the fastball. They couldn’t throw it past me, none of them.”
Hank Aaron

  • Jim Wilson

    I would find this approach a lot more insightful if it ranked by the difference in player BA (or preferably OPS) from the players total batting average/OPS, as opposed to just to a raw total. This just tells us that high avg hitters hit fastballs well and low average hitters don’t.