Aroldis Chapman, who suffered facial fractures from a line drive to the head, had a rehab start at low-Class A Dayton and threw so fast the scoreboard couldn’t handle it.
The fastest pitches actually read “01” because the scoreboard display contains only two digits. A Dayton team spokesman said no pitcher had ever reached triple digits at Fifth Third Field.
“My fastball felt really good,” Chapman said.
Chapman isn’t the only flame-thrower in the majors. According to Fangraphs, Yordano Ventura leads all starting pitchers in fastball velocity and hit over 100 mph 14 times in April, four more than when Justin Verlander hit the mark 10 times in 2002.
Ventura, who is an early-season candidate for rookie of the year and possibly the AL Cy Young Award, doesn’t just throw heat. The 22-year-old has a sinker, changeup, curveball and cutter in his repertoire, and uses them all to strike out batters and lead the league in ERA (1.50). Hitters are batting just 0.039 against his non-fastball offerings and just one extra-base hit off of a sinker.
“I’ve never come across anybody that has this type of stuff, really, at a young age,” Royals Manager Ned Yost said.