MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Statcast of the Day: Chapman's World Series heat

104.1 mph heater is fastest ever tracked in Fall Classic

Statcast of the Day: Chapman's World Series heat

CLEVELAND -- Every time Aroldis Chapman takes the mound, he seems to set some sort of velocity mark. Despite the cold temperatures in Cleveland, Game 2 of the World Series -- which the Cubs won, 5-1, on Wednesday night to even the Fall Classic at 1-1 -- was no different. With his first pitch of the night, Chapman's 101.5 mph fastball to Jose Ramirez became the fastest tracked pitch in World Series history.

It's fair to note that tracked velocity records go back only to 2008, when Pitch-f/x came online before Statcast™ joined it in 2015. Despite slight differences in tracking methodology, Chapman's pitch was the top pitch recorded by either one, topping the 101.4 mph heater that Kansas City's Kelvin Herrera threw in Game 2 of the 2014 World Series.

Game 3: Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET air time | 8 ET game time on FOX

Chapman didn't stop there, of course. So far, we've talked only about his first pitch, and he'd throw 21 more fastballs (along with one slider). Eighteen of those 22 fastballs would top the century mark, and one, to Coco Crisp, would actually max out at 104.1 mph. That's the new standard, at least until Chapman gets around to breaking that one, too. And Crisp deserves some amount of credit for actually being able to make enough contact to ground out to second baseman Javier Baez.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 25 CLE 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 26 CHC 5, CLE 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 28 CLE 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 29 CLE 7, CHC 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 30 CHC 3, CLE 2 video
Gm 6 Nov. 1 CHC 9, CLE 3 video
Gm 7 Nov. 2 CHC 8 CLE, 7 (10) video

In Chapman's career, including the postseason, he'd hit 104 mph just 28 times, but there's a way that he can make his pitches look even faster. As you probably know by now, the mound distance of 60 feet, 6 inches is merely a suggestion. So long as they maintain contact with the rubber, pitchers can push off as far in front of the mound as they're comfortable with. We call that extension, and the Major League average on four-seam fastballs is 6.2 feet off the mound.

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Chapman, however, averages 6.8 feet, and when he struck out Ramirez to end the eighth, he got up to 7.1 feet off the mound (or just over 53 feet from the plate, if you prefer to think about it that way). Though the pitch was measured at 103.1 mph -- as though that somehow isn't impressive enough on its own -- the shortened distance to the plate gave it a perceived velocity of 105.1 mph.

That, too, is a World Series best, as you might have expected. During the 2016 regular season, Chapman hit 105 mph of perceived velocity 13 times. He also occupies the top 128 spots on the perceived velocity pitch leaderboard, before you get to Mauricio Cabrera tied for 129th. Chapman throws harder than anyone, and he does so from closer to the plate than the average pitcher. It's basically not fair.

 

Eventually, Chapman will just own every velocity record that's possible to attain. For now, he can add another to his mantle. No one has thrown a hotter tracked pitch on the biggest stage than Chapman.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.