so? Want an idea of just how historic Aroldis Chapman's debut was ?
Even though Chapman was making his major-league debut, he's already solidified himself as the fastest-throwing pitcher the game has seen in a while. SABR has learned that Chapman's 102.7 mph fastball is the fastest thrown since the beginning of 2008, using pitch f/x numbers accurate to fractions.
Joel Zumaya also has a 102.7 mph mark -- two of them, in fact. Both came in 2009, seven days apart. The first was against the Cubs on June 23 when he blew a fastball by Milton Bradley. On the 30th, he unleashed another heater against Matt Holliday that ranked 102.7 mph.
Zumaya has an additional 102.6 mph headers, one coming the day after his unleashing against Bradley, this time showing Mike Fontenot what a fastball is all about. The other one was also against Matt Holliday on the 30th, showing a supreme test of endurance.
Placing sixth on the list is Jonathan Broxton at 102.6 mph on July 3, 2009, downing Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres. Bobby Parnell also joins Chapman in 2010 heaters, unveiling a 102.5 mph sizzler against Chris Johnson of the Astros on August 18.
And then the man of the hour, Chapman, checks in with his own 102.5 mark against Jonathan LuCroy.
How fast is Chapman's fastball?
Well, Louisville Slugger is more than happy to tell you, running calculations that show that Chapman's fabled 104-mph fastball (of which we technically have yet to see) takes 0.36 seconds from mound to plate, factoring in 60 feet and six inches of distance between the mound and home plate, plus a five-foot stride.
How fast is 0.36 seconds? Well, the average speed of a human's eye blink checks in at 300-400 milliseconds ... or 0.3-0.4 seconds. If you're standing at the plate right as Chapman unleashes the fury from hell, the ball will be nestled in the catcher's mitt before your eyes open again.
Now, let's just hope Chapman avoids the constant spate of injuries that have played Zumaya since hitting the majors. Between Zumaya and Stephen Strasburg, it has yet to be proven that a pitcher can consistently hit triple-digits and not break down.
-- Evan Brunell