Some call it bringing the heat, others call it gas, and some people just like to sit back and admire a smoldering fastball as it crosses the plate. Over the past few years, now Chicago Cubs reliever Aroldis Chapman has set himself apart as having the highest velocity on a fastball in all of the Majors. However, in late June, the Atlanta Braves debuted a young talent that could give Chapman some competition as baseball’s hardest throwing pitcher.
Mauricio Cabrera is a flame throwing 22-year-old right hander out of the Dominican Republic who has taken the baseball world by storm. In case you didn’t know, this kid brings the heat. While most people haven’t paid much attention to the Braves this season, but going into Tuesday the young pitcher has appeared in 12 games for Atlanta while posting an impressive 2.19 ERA in those appearances. The Associated Press reports that his four seam fastball averages 100.7 mph, which is higher than Chapman’s reported four seamer at 100.5.
Chapman must have gotten the news, because on Monday night he threw the ball a whopping 105.1 mph, which the Associated Press also says that it matched the fastest pitch since the league started tracking speeds just under a decade ago. Still Cabrera isn’t that much further behind in top speed, as his fastest recorded pitch is still a smoldering 103.8 mph.
So where has Cabrera been? He once was a starter, but some injuries have caused him to move to the bullpen and in 2015 Double-A play he appeared 51 times with an unimpressive 4.06 ERA. His pitching numbers did improve this year and the Braves felt like he had pitched well enough to skip through the Triple-A system and for now, it has paid off. Cabrera has a great fastball, and he also has some issues keeping the ball in the strike zone, but is of course still very young. Even if he is a little wild around the plate, he has been a force for good in this Atlanta pitching staff that has otherwise struggled. The Braves hope that he can continue to be a bright spot and expand upon the success that he has already seeing just a month into his Major League career.