The best and worst fastball hitters

Robinson Cano leads the majors with 44 hits off fastballs, but has no homers

Robinson Cano leads the majors with 44 hits off fastballs, but has no homers

You have to hit the fastball to play in the big leagues. Ted Williams

There it is, One of baseball’s greatest hitters describing hitting a fastball as succinctly as he actually hit a fastball.

Jack WebbThis column is not on the whys and wherefores of hitting the fastball, it’s Jack Webb, as Dragnet’s tough-guy Los Angeles Police Sergeant Joe Friday implored, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

Nine to Know: 2014 Teams vs the fastball

  1. Teams have hit .268 thus far this season with 739 homers.
  2. Look at the homer totals of the Royals and Cardinals.
  3. Check out the strikeout total of the Giants.
  4. The Braves have swung and missed on 423 fastballs, the most in the majors.
  5. The Royals have swung and missed on just 174 fastballs, the fewest in the majors.
  6. The Red Sox have taken 946 fastballs for strikes, the most in the majors.
  7. The Braves have taken 579 fastballs for strikes, the fewest in the majors.
  8. The Giants have chased 28.3% of fastballs out of the zone, while on the other extreme, their Bay Area brethren have shown the best discipline with only 19.77% of their swings coming on fastballs out of the zone.
  9. The Indians have put 797 fastballs in play, the most in the majors, while the Orioles have put only 605, the fewest.
2014 Versus the Fastball
PA AB H XBH HR K BB AVG OBP SLUG
1. Miami Marlins 997 865 261 83 31 160 102 .302 .376 .479
2. Colorado Rockies 916 811 242 87 29 154 70 .298 .351 .483
3. Texas Rangers 971 845 249 72 19 133 94 .295 .369 .432
4. Chicago White Sox 966 847 244 78 25 167 95 .288 .366 .442
5. Minnesota Twins 967 833 239 86 22 175 114 .287 .376 .445
6. Detroit Tigers 949 844 238 85 23 141 82 .282 .345 .440
7. Washington Nationals 1,089 955 267 91 28 182 104 .280 .356 .441
8. Boston Red Sox 1,065 925 256 86 22 186 116 .277 .361 .423
9. Baltimore Orioles 811 721 198 66 24 130 69 .275 .341 .437
10. Toronto Blue Jays 1,010 878 241 91 40 140 114 .274 .360 .473
11. Los Angeles Angels 960 851 233 99 36 133 94 .274 .349 .482
12. Arizona Diamondbacks 968 874 239 80 25 151 68 .273 .331 .431
13. San Francisco Giants 993 876 238 91 36 192 93 .272 .344 .467
14. Pittsburgh Pirates 943 833 224 66 27 159 87 .269 .347 .423
15. St. Louis Cardinals 1,019 898 240 56 9 156 96 .267 .346 .354
16. New York Yankees 990 867 231 77 25 149 99 .266 .345 .419
17. Philadelphia Phillies 1,017 910 242 81 27 163 84 .266 .331 .421
18. Houston Astros 1,004 867 229 77 29 186 114 .264 .356 .423
19. Milwaukee Brewers 987 876 228 92 32 173 77 .260 .325 .444
20. Cincinnati Reds 953 833 216 77 22 141 83 .259 .331 .408
21. Tampa Bay Rays 1,014 887 229 73 23 130 99 .258 .333 .396
22. New York Mets 948 812 209 71 17 172 106 .257 .346 .390
23. Seattle Mariners 964 848 218 73 21 164 91 .257 .335 .400
24. San Diego Padres 892 795 204 65 22 131 81 .257 .327 .403
25. Oakland Athletics 1,034 874 224 80 29 142 144 .256 .363 .424
26. Kansas City Royals 985 862 220 59 7 109 90 .255 .325 .345
27. Atlanta Braves 1,020 913 232 67 24 182 82 .254 .319 .386
28. Cleveland Indians 1,076 917 232 81 21 142 129 .253 .346 .390
29. Los Angeles Dodgers 983 872 209 77 21 163 93 .240 .316 .382
30. Chicago Cubs 888 773 184 63 23 178 89 .238 .325 .386

Nine to Know: Dead-Red Hitters

Okay, I admit to being surprised that Daniel Murphy to being the best fastball hitter in the majors and that Robinson Cano has yet to hit a homer off a fastball this season, although he leads the majors with 44 hits. I’m less surprised to find that Nelson Cruz, who leads the majors in homers, has hit 12 off fastballs, also the most in baseball.

2014 Best hitters versus the fastball
PA AB H XBH HR K BB AVG OBP SLUG
1. Daniel Murphy (NYM) 101 88 37 14 3 5 12 .420 .485 .659
2. Troy Tulowitzki (COL) 103 85 34 18 9 13 16 .400 .485 .835
3. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) 95 83 33 15 7 13 12 .398 .474 .759
4. Robinson Cano (SEA) 118 112 44 8 0 11 6 .393 .424 .464
5. Hunter Pence (SF) 102 86 32 12 4 12 14 .372 .461 .640
6. Chase Utley (PHI) 108 101 37 17 2 8 5 .366 .398 .584
7. Brian Dozier (MIN) 115 99 36 15 9 11 13 .364 .443 .697
8. Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) 99 75 27 9 3 18 19 .360 .505 .573
9. Christian Yelich (MIA) 125 109 39 14 3 18 15 .358 .432 .569

Nine to Know: Dead, Red Hitters

Mets fans will tell you that Curtis Granderson‘s numbers are not a surprise to them . The Phillies phanatics will attest to the struggles of Domonic Brown. But what is the deal with AGon?

2014 Worst hitters versus the fastball
PA AB H XBH HR K BB AVG OBP SLUG
1. Brad Miller (SEA) 87 75 12 5 3 20 10 .160 .259 .307
2. Alejandro De Aza (CWS) 71 63 11 2 1 13 7 .175 .254 .238
3. Curtis Granderson (NYM) 94 77 14 4 3 19 14 .182 .319 .312
4. Domonic Brown (PHI) 92 88 16 5 3 21 3 .182 .207 .307
5. Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) 91 81 15 7 3 13 9 .185 .264 .346
6. Eric Young Jr. (NYM) 89 75 14 4 1 16 10 .187 .291 .280
7. Nate Schierholtz (CHC) 85 75 14 4 0 13 7 .187 .271 .240
8. Jedd Gyorko (SD) 98 89 17 8 5 20 7 .191 .255 .393
9. Zack Cozart (CIN) 95 86 17 4 0 12 5 .198 .258 .256

Don’t bother trying to blow a fastball by these guys

The Upton brothers lead the majors in fastball strikeouts: B.J. Upton has struck out 36 times, Justin Upton has struck out 35 times.

2014 Batters who have struck out five times and fewer versus the fastball
PA K K% K/BB Swng# Miss# Miss%
1. Jean Segura (MIL) 88 3 3.4% 0.75 159 14 8.8%
2. Erick Aybar (LAA) 106 4 3.8% 0.80 161 12 7.5%
3. Victor Martinez (DET) 105 4 3.8% 0.67 199 15 7.5%
4. Yangervis Solarte (NYY) 85 4 4.7% 0.36 127 6 4.7%
5. Yonder Alonso (SD) 86 4 4.7% 0.67 157 10 6.4%
6. Albert Pujols (LAA) 113 5 4.4% 1.00 192 19 9.9%
7. Ben Revere (PHI) 100 5 5.0% 2.50 139 7 5.0%
8. Brian McCann (NYY) 99 5 5.1% 0.50 168 14 8.3%
9. Carlos Ruiz (PHI) 90 5 5.6% 0.45 142 12 8.5%
10. Coco Crisp (OAK) 81 5 6.2% 0.42 127 8 6.3%
11. Daniel Murphy (NYM) 101 5 5.0% 0.42 166 11 6.6%
12. Jose Reyes (TOR) 92 5 5.4% 0.38 141 12 8.5%
13. Ryan Ludwick (CIN) 66 5 7.6% 1.00 129 20 15.5%