Fastball Dominance – MLB Pitching Analysis


The most common pitch thrown by a big league pitcher is a four-seam fastball. Although there are a few variations (two-seam, cutter, and so on), the fastball pitch is designed to blaze the ball by the batter before he can properly react to it, or sneak in some late movement to fool him.

We’re looking to analyze and conclude which pitchers are the most dominant when it comes to throwing specific types of pitches – in this case, the fastball.

Specifically, we’re looking at the statistic called “standardized runs by pitch” – in this case, the standardized runs by four-seam fastballs or wFA/C. This represents the amount of runs that the pitcher saved with their fastball over the course of 100 fastballs thrown.

We’re also using “dominance” as an abstract term to describe how well a pitcher has performed this season. This doesn’t mean they have the best or fastest fastball, but rather that their pitch has been the most difficult to hit.

Heaters and Dominance

Let’s take a look at PITCHf/x data for MLB pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched through Aug. 27, 2017, and see who dominates the fastball pitch.


This scatterplot compares dominance against the percentage of time a pitcher throws a fastball. The ideal location here is the upper left quadrant – it represents pitchers who have had the best pitches and used them most often. As of August 27th, one of the notable pitchers here is Clayton Kershaw, the now 16-win pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who is leading the majors with a 1.95 ERA. Justin Verlander, now of the Houston Astros and Ariel Miranda of the Seattle Mariners are also in this ideal quadrant.

In the lower right quadrant, you’ll find pitchers who haven’t fared well with fastballs, and they’re also not throwing them frequently. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however – they may rely on other pitches. Jason Vargas from the Kansas City Royals, for example, is not known for his fastball, instead relying on other pitches to paint those corners, such as change-ups and sinkers. Masahiro Tanaka from the New York Yankees is in a similar boat – he prefers to throw sliders and splitters.

The upper right quadrant, interestingly, shows pitchers who use the fastball frequently but aren’t necessarily performing well with this pitch. Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles is one example of a high percentage of fastballs paired with results he’d rather not have. Matt Moore from the San Francisco Giants is another pitcher who uses fastballs frequently despite his lack of dominance with this particular pitch.


This chart incorporates the same data but may be a bit clearer to see which pitchers are more dominant with the fastball when compared to their peers. While the top two dominant pitchers have a fastball that reaches blazing speed (Michael Fulmer of the Tigers averages 95.7 mph, and Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox is just slightly behind him at 94.6 mph), not every dominant pitcher throws lightning fastballs, and not every nondominant pitcher has a slow fastball.

This is evident when we check out the third dominant pitcher on the list. R.A. Dickey of the Atlanta Braves is No. 3 here. His fastball average of 83 mph is the opposite of heat – however, Dickey’s favorite pitch is not a fastball. Instead, he relies on knuckleballs, which is understandable due to its deceptive nature and his mastery of the pitch itself.

Toeing the Slab

As you continue to watch your favorite pitchers toe the slab as the season winds down (and as the postseason revs up), make sure you have all the authentic MLB gear you can handle by visiting Fanatics.


MLB Immaculate Innings


There are a few baseball categories that only have a handful of entries – the 3,000 hit club, with 31 members, is one. Another rare feat is the “immaculate innings,” which means a nine-pitch, nine-strike inning. To date, there have only been 89 immaculate innings, and despite this low number, 2017’s had quite the run. Considering it only takes 10 regular baseball games to rack up 90 innings, getting an immaculate inning is extremely rare.

Let’s take a look at immaculate innings over the last century of baseball history so we can better understand how rare indeed they truly are.

Immaculate Innings on the Rise


As the years go by, there seems to be another trend aside from more guys clobbering homers. Glancing over this chart, you can see that the first three decades weren’t teeming with immaculate innings; in fact, there was only one immaculate inning in each decade in these early years.

In the ’20s, there were five immaculate nine-pitch, nine strike innings, the ’50s saw three, and the ’60s and ’70s each saw eight. The number went down in the ’80s (4) and jumped up dramatically in the ’90s (18) followed by 15 in the ’00s. Thus far in the ’10s, there have been 25 immaculate innings, far outpacing the decades of yesteryear.

Immaculate Teams


The National League, by the numbers, has more immaculate innings than the American League – 55 for the NL, compared to 34 for the AL (although the Astros currently play in the American League, they achieved 5 immaculate innings during their time in the National League). In fact, the top team overall with the most immaculate innings is the National League’s Dodgers, who have seven. The second most amount was at the hands of the American League’s Yankees with six.

Two teams are tied with five – the Astros and the Phillies. There are quite a few that have four, including the Brewers, who have one while they were still in the AL and three in the NL. Other teams include the defending World Series champs – the Chicago Cubs – and the Boston Red Sox.

There are also a number of teams with three immaculate innings, including the Royals, Rays, and Giants. Among those with two immaculate innings are the Blue Jays, Mets, Nationals and Tigers. And finally, there are a handful of teams with one immaculate inning, including old-timey teams like the Beaneaters (who are now the Atlanta Braves) as well as current teams like the Mariners and the White Sox.

Throwing Strikes

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Considering how rare an immaculate inning is, it’s not a stretch to realize that it’s difficult for a pitcher to get one at all, much less more than one. Sandy Koufax, flamethrowing southpaw for the Dodgers (both Brooklyn and Los Angeles), managed to throw three immaculate innings during his career.

Lefty Grove is another pitcher who managed to grab an immaculate inning more than once – he performed this feat twice in the same year (1928) for the same team (the Philadelphia Athletics, who are now located in Oakland and are better known as the A’s). Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson also achieved it two times – once for two different teams.

The rest of the players on our list threw an immaculate inning once, which, as we’ve established, is still impressive. Pitchers include Max Scherzer (Nationals), Danny Jackson (Royals), Felix Hernandez (Mariners), Rick Porcello (Red Sox), Roger Clemens (Blue Jays), Orel Hershiser (Giants), and Pedro Martinez (Red Sox).

Strike Three, You’re Out!

Are you keeping track of this year’s immaculate innings? If so, and you’re needing more MLB merch to keep your baseball-lovin’ heart happy, head over to to grab some amazing new gear.


MLB Video Game Covers


Players Gracing the Covers

While your favorite MLB team – whether it’s the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, or even the Chicago Cubs – only plays 162 regular season games a year, it’s not always enough. Even a trip from the postseason to the World Series may not entirely quench your thirst for nine more innings of baseball.

Thankfully, video game developers are aware of this need, and titles like “MLB: The Show” give the baseball-obsessed a chance to enjoy the sport year-round. These games, released across different video game systems over the years, allow fans to digitally guide their favorite players and help them achieve a career worthy of Cooperstown.

What baseball positions are most featured on the cover of these games, and who are some of the most famous faces on the packaging? Here’s a look at recent MLB video games and what their covers can tell us.

Select A Team


No player without their own video game franchise (sorry, Ken Griffey Jr.) appeared on more covers than former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. He graced the cover of “Major League Baseball 2K5”, “Major League Baseball 2K6,” and “Major League Baseball 2K7” – three consecutive years not just as the face of the Yankees’ franchise but of this particular video game series. Those were some of the best years of Jeter’s career. In 2006, he finished second overall in MVP balloting behind Minnesota Twins player Justin Morneau.

Ken Griffey Jr. was featured on four covers, all from the series using his name and image. While the other players rounding out the top five appeared on two or more covers, only one was a pitcher. Pedro Martínez, a 2004 World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox and Hall of Famer, lent his visage to the covers of “World Series Baseball 2K1” and “World Series Baseball 2K2.”

Super Sox

Seven video game series have had Boston Red Sox players featured on the cover, the most of any one team. In addition to Pedro, recently retired designated hitter David Ortiz was on the cover of “MLB 06: The Show.” The only currently active Red Sox to appear on a cover was second baseman Dustin Pedroia for “MLB 09: The Show.” Adrian Gonzalez and Nomar Garciaparra were also Red Sox players when chosen as cover boys.

Two teams – the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays – with only one MLB player on a video game cover have only done so very recently. In the last two years, Dodgers’ right fielder Yasiel Puig and Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson shared the responsibility of gracing “MLB: The Shows” cover in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Puig was 19th in MVP voting in 2014, and Donaldson knocked in 41 home runs and 123 RBIs in 2015, where he finished first in MVP balloting.

Positional Awareness

After outfielders, shortstops and pitchers were the most common positions to be featured on the covers of baseball video games. At six apiece, there are plenty of famous faces in this bunch. Derek Jeter for “Major League Baseball 2K” and Pedro Martínez of the Boston Red Sox in “World Series Baseball 2K” help lead this group.

You’re less likely to be the face of a video game franchise if you’re a second or third baseman. Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox and David Wright from the Mets, helped to further the cause of being considered for cover-star greatness.

Press Play to Play Ball

While there have certainly been players from small market teams who’ve made their way onto video game covers, stars from some of the MLB’s biggest teams – like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees – make more regular appearances on the boxes of these digital baseball games.

Don’t miss an opportunity to turn digital dreams into a reality by getting officially licensed MLB merchandise and apparel transported to you in the real world from Fanatics. It’s the best way to level up your fan experience!


Video Games Franchises Covered

MLB: The Show, Major League Baseball 2K, Triple Play, Ken Griffey Jr., The Bigs, Home Run King, World Series Baseball 2K, Microsoft Baseball, MLB ‘98, MVP Baseball.

Home Run Tracker: June 4th to June 11th


Taking a look at last week’s home run stats, it’s clear there’s a slew of red-hot sluggers that approached the plate with a scoreboard-adding hit in mind. Continue reading to see which players produced the most dingers and launched the highest homers from the past week.

Where There’s Smoak, There’s Home Runs

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Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak is finally undergoing his breakout season after achieving his first multi-homer game since last season and preventing the Jays from suffering a three-game sweep. Smoak’s home run campaign comes as a pleasant surprise to the thriving “Blue Birds,” and positions him as a viable All-Star candidate.


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Scooter Gennett of the Cincinnati Reds made history on June 6 by hitting four home runs against the St. Louis Cardinals, becoming the 17th player to tie the Major League record for most home runs in a single game. Sharing his teammate’s glory in the batter’s box, Joey Votto emerged from a hitting rut to clobber a whopping four high-fliers into the crowd during last week’s contests.

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez produced two homers during the team’s June 8 meeting against their longtime rivals, the Boston Red Sox – driving in five runs and propelling the “Pinstripes” to a 9-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.

Coming In Clutch


If one thing is for certain, it is this: The fourth inning is a hub for home runs. Batters in the fourth inning were responsible for producing 41 of this week’s long balls.

While the number of homers cranked out during a regular nine-inning match is jaw-dropping, sometimes it’s the delayed dingers that create unforgettable moments and improbable comeback victories.

One of the home runs hit in the 11th inning was a Baltimore Orioles walk-off by Trey Mancini, his second of the night that sent the Pittsburgh Pirates “walking the plank.” Additionally, Robinson Chirinos came in clutch for the Texas Rangers on June 10 after belting a three-run home run into the bleachers against the Washington Nationals – claiming a 6-3 victory for the Texas-based club.

Just Your Average Long Ball


If you managed to keep up with every Major League home run last week, then we applaud you. If not, here’s everything you need to know about last week’s average long ball.

Players entered the batter’s box in a silver slugger state of mind. After compiling all home runs smacked by heavy hitters last week, we discovered the average homer had a launch angle of 28 degrees and exit velocity of 104 miles per hour, traveling an average true distance of 401 feet.


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Yankees rising rookie Aaron Judge capped the week off by hitting a season-high 496-foot long bomb off of Baltimore Orioles’ Logan Verrett in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Miami Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton trailed Judge’s impressive feat by launching a 465-foot tape-measure shot against the Pirates on June 9th, clearing the batter’s eye but ultimately flopping back onto the field.

There are home runs… and then there are HOME RUNS. ⚾️💪 #VoteStanton |

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If you’re a home run hothead, be sure to check out for the latest MLB fan gear in the game – from jerseys and hats to collectibles and memorabilia, no matter which team you’re cheering on.


Home Run Hot Spots: Yankee Stadium


The New York Yankees have been around since 1903, when they were known as the New York Highlanders, and have done nothing more than win 40 American League pennants and 27 World Series over their long, successful history.

From their early days to the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox for Babe Ruth to decades of stellar play on the field, the New York Yankees left their original stadium in 2009 and took up shop in their new home across the street – and have never looked back.

The House That Jeter Built

The Yankees played ball in the original Yankee Stadium for nearly nine decades. The original, which was commonly known as The House That Ruth Built, housed 26 World Series-winning teams – the first in 1923, the first year the original Yankee Stadium opened for business. Those teams are not only well-known for their many, many World Series wins, but for some of the best players in the business who went on to become household names, from Babe Ruth to Lou Gehrig to Joe DiMaggio to Yogi Berra.

In 2005, plans were made to replace the aging structure with a new modern stadium across the street from the original with the intent to pay homage to their old home of more than 80 years. The new digs have similar field dimensions as the old place and fans enjoy a familiar feel when visiting, while the updated design offers roomier concourses and new amenities, such as luxury suites.

At the end of the new stadium’s inaugural season in 2009, the Yankees again went back to the World Series, adding an MLB-high 27th trophy to their already enormous collection (as a side note, the next highest number of World Series wins is 11, with the St. Louis Cardinals).

 Home runs are a common occurrence at Yankee Stadium, as its cozy size has led to a ton of home runs. In 2016, there were 230 long balls, and the one that went the furthest (461 feet) came off a pitch from Yanks reliever Jonathan Holder. Want a souvenir yourself? Check out our heat map to find the best spot for catching a home run in Yankee Stadium.

Grabbing the No-Doubters

Let's make your Monday better. Tickets are officially on sale! Link in bio. #regram @bhavpat

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At the end of the new stadium’s inaugural season in 2009, the Yankees again went back to the World Series, adding an MLB-high 27th trophy to their already enormous collection (as a side note, the next highest number of World Series wins is 11, with the St. Louis Cardinals).  

Home runs are a common occurrence at Yankee Stadium, as its cozy size has led to a ton of home runs. In 2016, there were 230 long balls, and the one that went the furthest (461 feet)  came off a pitch from Yanks reliever Jonathan Holder. Want a souvenir yourself? Check out our heat map to find the best spot for catching a home run in Yankee Stadium.

Grabbing the No-Doubters


If you’re setting your sights on grabbing a home run ball, there are a few sections at Yankee Stadium that may pay off a little better than others. Down the left field line, try to snag a seat in section 133, as our heat map indicates that’s quite a hot spot. The other super hot spots are in the bullpens, both home and visitor, which leaves most of us regular folk out of the running for long balls in that area. Monument Park, located in between the bullpens, does have its share of homers as well, but its gates close to visitors 45 minutes prior to the game’s start time.

However, any field-level seat along the outfield likely holds a good chance of a homer heading your way. Sections 135 and 136 in left field and 103 and 104 in the right are good spots, so if you’re not an MLB player and you can’t grab a seat in section 133, try those as well.


If you’re gearing up to head to the Bronx to watch your Yankees take on their American League East rivals (and everyone else on this year’s schedule), take note of where the best chances of catching a homer might be, and grab your Yankees gear from


New York Yankees Walk-Up Songs


The New York Yankees got their start in the early 20th century when their first incarnation played in Baltimore, notably under the team name Orioles. The team moved to NYC just a few years later and took the field for the first time under a new name: The New York Highlanders.   

The team is now known as the Yankees, of course, and thousands of fans flock to the “new” Yankee Stadium for each game. The stadium was built across the street from the site of the original stadium – The House That Ruth Built – in 2009. The Yankees have been the world champs a whopping 27 times, which is by far the most in MLB history. In fact, it more than doubles the No. 2 spot on the world champs list (the St. Louis Cardinals, with 11 wins).

In addition to tons of gameday entertainment, the stadium pops out a song each time a home-team player strolls up to the batter’s box. This boosts the stadium’s energy, which both the fans and players feed upon. Read on to learn which beats get the Yankees going.

Beats in the Bronx


The Yankees’ player selections for walk-up songs are as varied as the athletes themselves, but fans note that there is plenty of hip-hop to be found. The next most popular genre is Christian and gospel, followed by alternative, country, R&B and soul, reggae, and rock.

City Beats

New York is basically the hip-hop capital of the world, so it’s no surprise that many player favorites are hip-hop tracks. Mark Teixeira chose “It’s Tricky” by Run-D.M.C., a classic ’80s number by the popular trio out of Queens. Jacoby Ellsbury is a fan of successful hip-hop artist Jay-Z, who hails from Brooklyn. Didi Gregorius chose another native New Yorker – Notorious B.I.G., whose self-titled tune belts out from Yankee Stadium’s sound system when Gregorius steps up to the plate.

Spiritual Sounds

Hip-hop may rule New York, but there are plenty of other genres at the stadium too. Christian artists have some playing time at Yankee Stadium; third baseman Chase Headley uses two different Christian rock anthems as his walk-up selections, including “Take My Life” by Jeremy Camp and “Surrender” by Third Day. Right-hand pitcher Kirby Yates goes reggae, with Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” as his selection. Outfielder Brett Gardner draws on his Southern roots with Brantley Gilbert’s “Hell on Wheels” ringing through the stadium as he steps up to the plate, and pitcher Anthony Swarzak turns to supergroup Audioslave and their alternative tune “Cochise” for inspiration.

Turn It Up

Although the Yanks’ players have different tastes, they all agree that the right tune can really get them in the mood to blast one out of the park. From old-school hip-hop and reggae to Christian and modern rock supergroups, multiple genres get the players pumped. If you want to get electrified, crank some walk-up tunes and get your Yankees gear at, where we definitely have you covered.


Happiest MLB Teams


The familiar smell of hot dogs, the energy and excitement of the ballpark, the summer day full of sunshine – who wouldn’t be happy to spend their afternoon at a baseball game? You see plenty of smiles on the faces of players watching a Major League Baseball (MLB) game, but just like only one team wins the World Series each year, there has to be just one happiest team and position.

We wanted to uncover which teams and positions those were. We took photos of players from ESPN, ran them through Microsoft’s Cognitive Services Emotion API, and ranked the teams and positions based on their appearance to find the happiest of the bunch. These are the ones that give off that vibe that they’re playing for the love of the game.

New York State of Mind


The Bronx Bombers, also known as the New York Yankees, are the happiest team in MLB. Fans love them (they’re America’s favorite team), opposing fans hate them, and networks can’t get enough of them. Those pinstripe-wearing, beardless men radiate positivity. They’ve won 27 World Series Championships, so it makes sense that they’re coming to work with a league-leading level of positivity.

The New York Mets, the Yankees’ crosstown rivals, earn a second place. They’re also the only team from the National League in the top five. Maybe the rest of the National League wishes they had the designated hitter position?

The Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers, take the bat at third and fourth place; both come from the same division, the American League Central. Whatever is in the Midwest’s water supply needs to be shared with the rest of the league!

Pitching Ain’t Easy


Infield players make up the first few places – shortstop, second baseman, first baseman, and catcher – all were in the top five. You have to go to the tail end of the list to find the pitchers.

Starting pitchers ended up just ahead of relief pitchers (these are individuals who, unlike starters, are brought in more regularly and for short periods of play). It’s a lonely place on the mound, throwing a five-ounce ball close to 100 miles an hour while challenging a stream of opposing batters.

The fans love you if you head out of the game winning, but then the fate of your performance and possible worship rests in the hands of an understudy, the relief pitcher. Perhaps how quickly the love and support can fade from fans, players, and coaches makes it difficult for the pitcher population to be happy.

Extra Innings

New York is large enough for two MLB teams, and apparently also large enough to accommodate the two happiest squads in the pros. It doesn’t matter what subway line the Yankees or Mets are being forced to take or exactly what borough they’re located in; they’re just happy.

Perhaps if these two teams could concentrate on sending some love to starting and relief pitchers around the league, it could be a happier organization overall. Who wouldn’t want to see that, even if it required the umpires to use Instant Replay?

Snag some of the best officially licensed MLB merchandise and apparel from so you’re supporting your team in style while hopefully sporting a smile on your face.


The Evolution of the New York Yankees Jersey

The Evolution of the New York Yankees jersey

The New York Yankees are the baseball team best known for the most World Series won of all time. Steeped in excellence, the Yankees mean so much more than the collective product of athletic talent assembled any given year on the diamond. When going to a game, you are not being sold a seat to watch a single ballgame; you are being sold a ticket to a shrine of the most storied team in the history of America’s pastime.

Although sports fans want something fresh and new every so often, the Yankees have barely updated their classic uniform since the team began in 1903. Uniform critics, fans, and even some players have criticized the Yankees for their unwavering commitment to tradition and business-like mentality. However, the Yankees subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy.

The Yankees’ net worth, hovering around $3.2 billion, is tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the highest valuation of any American sports franchise, and the two trail only the Real Madrid Football Club globally.

The team keeps winning and is still in New York, media capital of the world. With 27 championships, they are a money-making machine. They sacrifice aesthetic changes for the sake of reminding people just who they are and why you’re paying the price of admission.

As Yogi Berra put it best: “So I’m ugly. So what? I never saw anyone hit with his face.”

The New York Yankees jersey

The Sometimes False Legend

As if to fill the void of news surrounding their on-field attire, there are many rumors and legends surrounding the Yankees uniform.

Possibly the most famous? The Yankees were the first major league baseball team to wear uniform numbers. Other iterations of the rumor have it as the first to wear them on the back of the jersey. Both are false.

The Indians occasionally used numbers on their sleeves in 1916 and ’17, and the Cardinals did likewise in 1923. The Indians and Yankees were both slotted to wear back-numbered jerseys for their home openers in 1929, but the Yankees had to postpone due to rain.

Other fictional tales include the adoption of the pinstripes to slim down Babe Ruth – the mythical hot-dog-eating machine who could crush baseballs. However, the team first wore pinstripes in 1912, seven years before the Yankees acquired Ruth from the Red Sox.

Since then, besides the occasional patch (on a sleeve or hat), only minor details have been toyed with since 1936.

Small Changes Through the Years

  • 1903 – After the 1902 season, the Baltimore Orioles move to New York City and are renamed the New York Highlanders. The uniforms feature a noninterlocking but elaborate “NY” on the chest. A collar and buttons past the midriff, but not extending the whole shirt, are present.
  • 1905 – The first attempt at using an interlocking “NY” is used for one season before being abandoned.
  • 1912 – The interlocking “NY” logo moves from the uniform sleeve to the front of the jersey. The next year, they are officially renamed “the Yankees.”
  • 1915 – The modern pinstriped home uniform look returns.
  • 1917 – The interlocking “NY” logo disappears.
  • 1927 – For a three-year stint, the away uniform says YANKEES – as opposed to NEW YORK – in curved big block letters.

Looking Forward

The last time the idea of changing the Yankees uniform was even broached was in 1974 – year 10 of an 11-year first-place drought. The Yankees official apparel company, Wilson, sent over samples of a “negative” alternate road uniform. It was the classic, white-and-blue Yankee pinstripe home look, but in reverse, with white pinstripes.

So will the Yankees ever deviate from the pinstripes? Not in your lifetime. The team’s brand and unchanging uniform will always be synonymous with winning, and people love to back a winner.

Fanatics carries a full line of Yankees jerseys that will never go out of style.