Recently, we noted that San Diego pitcher Tyson Ross had landed himself surprisingly high on the Statcast™ hitting exit velocity leaderboards, pointing out that (with a favorably low sample size threshold) he'd actually hit the ball harder on average than Paul Goldschmidt or Yoenis Cespedes. But in the process, something else even more fascinating came up. Only two pitchers hit the ball harder than 91 mph last year, given 10 non-bunt batted balls. One was Ross, one of the best hitting pitchers around, so that's not surprising.
The other just set a Major League record for offensive futility. That's something that grabs your attention. Jon Lester, who went without a hit over his first 66 career plate appearances dating back to 2006 before finally getting one in July, hit the ball an average of 92.5 mph last season. It was harder than every non-Ross pitcher, even Madison Bumgarner, who cracked five homers. Take a look for yourself:
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.