These 10 MLB Pitchers Gained The Most Fastball Velocity in 2022

NL Cy Young Candidate Jacob deGrom Scratched, May Miss Opening Day

Adding velocity is one of the main ways that pitchers can display improvement and make their arsenal more effective.

Last year, some of the MLB’s hardest throwing pitchers also happened to be among the most effective arms on the mound.

Griffin Jax led the MLB by adding 2.8 mph onto his heater in 2022. Ryan Helsley (+2.2), Alex Cobb (+2.1), and Shohei Ohtani (+2.0) were among the pitchers that added the most velocity to their four-seam fastball in 2022.

A more effective fastball also helped pitchers keep runs off the board, as players in the top-10 in added velocity managed to lower their ERA by 1.74 runs compared to the previous year.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the pitchers that gained the most velocity on their fastball and analyze whether the gain in velocity translated into better numbers on the mound. We’ll also review the hardest throwing pitchers in the MLB and a few league-wide fastball trends heading into the 2023 season.

Check out the highlights from the story below:

Who Gained The Most Velocity On Their Fastball In 2022?

Each of the top-three pitchers that gained velocity on their fastball were relievers.

Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Griffin Jax added the most velocity to his four-seamer, gaining 2.8 mph on his fastball in 2022. Meanwhile, starter-turned-reliever Jorge Lopez added 2.3 mph on his heater and closer Ryan Helsley gained 2.2 mph on his fastball on route to a career year on the mound.

While bullpen arms dominated the top of the list, starters were also well-represented on the list of velocity gainers.

Alex Cobb, Shohei Ohtani, and Jose Urena were among the starters who gained the most fastball velocity in 2022. Meanwhile, Eli Morgan, Jordan Montgomery, and Zach Davies rounded out the list. Overall, there were six starters highlighted on the top-10 list.

Check out the pitchers that had the biggest increases in average four-seam fastball velocity below.

  1. Jax, Griffin — 2.8 mph
  2. Lopez, Jorge — 2.3 mph
  3. Helsley, Ryan — 2.2 mph
  4. Cobb, Alex — 2.1 mph
  5. Ohtani, Shohei — 2 mph
  6. Moore, Matt — 1.9 mph
  7. Urena, Jose — 1.8 mph
  8. Minter, A.J. — 1.7 mph
  9. Morgan, Eli — 1.7 mph
  10. Montgomery, Jordan — 1.6 mph
  11. Davies, Zach — 1.6 mph

Does Adding Velocity Lead To Results On The Mound?

Increasing fastball speed looks good on the radar gun, but does it directly lead to better results on the mound? We analyzed the performance of the top-10 gainers in fastball velocity to see if that was indeed the case.

As we mentioned earlier, Jax led the MLB in year-over-year change in average fastball velocity after gaining 2.8 mph on his heater.

The increased velocity on the radar gun paid immediate dividends on the mound for the 28-year-old reliever. After posting a disappointing 6.37 ERA in his first taste of MLB action in 2021, Jax went 7-4 with a 3.36 ERA while becoming a valuable member of the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen.

Jax isn’t alone in his progression either.

Of the top-10 players that gained velocity on their fastball, only Jose Urena did not post a lower ERA last season compared to 2021.

Ryan Helsley cut his ERA from 4.56 to 1.25 in 2022 after gaining 2.2 mph on his fastball, good for the third-highest increase in all of baseball.

Relievers weren’t the only pitchers that benefitted from added heat on their fastball. Alex Cobb, Shohei Ohtani, Eli Morgan, Jordan Montgomery, and Zach Davies all lowered their ERA in 2022 after gaining velocity on their four-seamer.

Overall, the top-10 gainers in average fastball velocity were able to lower their season-ERA by an average of 1.74 runs.

Check out the results below.

Player Velocity Change (mph) 2022 ERA 2021 ERA ERA Difference
Griffin Jax 2.8 3.36 6.37 -3.01
Jorge Lopez 2.3 2.54 6.07 -3.53
Ryan Helsley 2.2 1.25 4.56 -3.31
Alex Cobb 2.1 3.73 3.76 -0.03
Shohei Ohtani 2 2.33 3.18 -0.85
Matt Moore 1.9 1.95 6.29 -4.34
Jose Urena 1.8 5.14 3.52 1.62
A.J. Minter 1.7 2.06 3.78 -1.72
Eli Morgan 1.7 5.34 3.38 -1.96
Jordan Montgomery 1.6 3.48 3.83 -0.35
Zach Davies 1.6 5.78 4.09 -1.69

Helsley, Clase, and Diaz Top List of Hardest Throwing Pitchers In The MLB

In 2022, three players averaged over 100 mph on their four-seam fastball, the most since StatCast started tracking pitch data in 2017.

With an average speed of 100.8 mph, Minnesota Twins’ reliever Jhoan Duran had the highest average fastball velocity in the MLB during the 2022 season.

Two other players, Andrés Muñoz (100.2 mph) and Jordan Hicks (100.2 mph) also averaged triple-digits with their four-seamer in 2022.

Closers Emmanuel Chase (99.9 mph) and Ryan Helsley (99.6) rounded out the list of the top-5 hardest throwers in baseball while Brusdar Graterol (99.4) and Edwin Diaz (99.1) barely missed out on the top-5.

Surprisingly, a few starting pitchers also managed to make the top-10 list. Cincinnati Reds’ phenom Hunter Green and New York Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom snuck into the top-10 with an average fastball velocity of 98.9 mph.

Check out the list of the hardest towers in the MLB according to their four-seam fastball velocity below.

  1. Jhoan Duran — 100.8 mph
  2. Andrés Muñoz — 100.2 mph
  3. Jordan Hicks — 100.2 mph
  4. Emmanuel Clase — 99.9 mph
  5. Ryan Helsley — 99.6 mph
  6. Brusdar Graterol — 99.4 mph
  7. Félix Bautista — 99.2 mph
  8. Edwin Díaz — 99.1 mph
  9. Pete Fairbanks — 99 mph
  10. Hunter Greene — 98.9 mph
  11. Jacob deGrom — 98.9 mph

MLB Average Fastball Velocity Continues To Climb, Reaches All-Time High in 2022

Pitchers are gaining velocity on their fastball at a rapid rate and the results are showing in the league-wide numbers.

Over the last several years, many veterans have been able to add velocity to their fastball, despite their physical limitations.

The average MLB fastball came out at an average speed of 93.6 mph in 2022, the highest mark ever, according to FanGraphs.

In fact, the league’s average fastball velocity has increased or stayed the same in every year since 2008.

While pitchers are throwing faster than ever, fastball usage actually reached an all-time low in 2022.

Pitchers threw the fastball only 49.1 percent of the time in 2022, the lowest mark ever recorded.

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