Only Ray Black and his 97.9 mph average fastball cracks the top 50 regular season average pitch velocity leaderboard. Reyes Moronta misses the list with an average fastball of 96.8 mph. Hunter Strickland averages 95. The Giants simply don’t measure up. Look at this list of the top 15 postseason fastballs:
It was Corbin Burnes’ 97 mph on the black during last night’s NLCS that made me think of this. Yes, for all of the Yankees on that list, the Yankees aren’t even hanging around the postseason at this point.
The top 15 of the regular season is even more remarkable:
There’s our buddy Ray Black on the list. We know that he wasn’t particularly effective in his limited time up, however, and that’s a key factor. Moronta was effective, even if he did tire.
Now, of course, there are other ways to navigate a regular season without a ‘pen full of power arms —Tony Watson and Will Smith were certainly effective this year and should be one more time in 2019 — but the Giants did lead the majors in blown saves (which can be partly attributed to the worst offense we’ve seen in our lifetime, but not entirely) and a 23.5% bullpen strikeout rate that was good for only 14th in MLB; so, if the Giants aren’t going to target the Nathan Eovaldis of the world to power the rotation (18.6% strikeout rate, 25th in MLB), then they should focus on adding power arms for the ‘pen, pricey as they’ll be.
Perhaps the new GM will have a mind to trade one or two of these arms around the deadline should the Giants not be “in it”. We can only hope.