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You have to be nearly perfect even to get a single off of him.When you add in Scherzer’s intensity — he’s one of the most fiery and passionate pitchers in baseball and his stare down of the hitter is terrifying — it just makes facing him even worse.As a batter, you’re already down 0-2 and this thin pitcher with long hair is just toying with you.A strike away from walking back to the dugout with your head tucked down, the hitter takes a moment to gather himself then prepares himself again.Chapman can still strike you out with ease, and he’s turning in one of the best seasons in his career thus far.But compared to the fear of potentially getting hit by his fastball, being struck out by the closer doesn’t seem so bad anymore.
Aroldis Chapman, relief pitcher, New York Yankees Visualize stepping into the batter’s box and seeing Chapman in front of you, ready to wind up and unleash his 100-plus-mph fastball.
Unlike with most pitchers, your greatest fear isn’t striking out.
Instead, your greatest fear is that Chapman’s location is off by just a hair and that fastball drills you.
According to MLB.com’s Stat Cast, Chapman’s fastest pitch this season came on a 130.3 mph four-seam fastball that hit Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Any time you get hit by a pitch it hurts, but to get hit by a baseball going 103.3 mph is a whole new level of pain.
Just ask Tampa Bay Rays prospect Jake Cronenworth, who took a 98 mph fastball off his side during spring training (the aftermath was not pretty).
It’s a nasty 80-mph slider that buckles the batter’s knees and puts him down in the count right at the start.