New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw a baseball very hard on Monday night. That is not particularly newsworthy in and of itself—Chapman is rather well known for his ability to lay on that heat, to put some extra mustard on his cheese, and maybe even garnish it with a few basil leaves. Dude throws hard, is what I'm sayin'.
But on this night—a 2-1 Yankees victory closed out by the Cuban fireballer—one particular pitch was special. Chapman reached 105.1 MPH on the radar gun in a ninth-inning at-bat against Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. It had a perceived speed of 105.5 MPH according to Statcast and while I'm not really sure what that means, it is .4 MPH faster. It also tied a record set by some guy who used to play for the Reds named…Aroldis Chapman:
Here is the pitch in question:
That was pretty far inside, so kudos to Hardy for sticking out the at-bat instead of retiring on the spot and moving to Egypt, where there isn't a baseball diamond for 1,000 miles.
What propelled Chapman to his fastest pitch in six years? Well the trade deadline is only a few days away, and he's stuck on the most boring Yankees team in nearly 25 years. Could he be willing himself to new heights of velocity in order to attract potential suitors? It's difficult for a relief pitcher to stand out on a given night, but tying a fastest-pitch record and continuing to make the Fastest Pitch leaderboard his own personal website certainly does the trick. Chapman's performance last night is responsible for the five fastest pitches recorded by Statcast, and he's thrown nine of the fastest ten pitches, all within the past 30 days.
Given the fact that the Yankees would be better off trading the impending free agent for as much young talent as possible, and that Chapman would be better off on a contender, everybody involved in this should be rooting for the Cuban fireballer to continue dominating hitters and tossing record-setting heat.