Commentary

The worst pitch in baseball

Kyle Davies' fastball hasn't been fooling hitters at all over the last two seasons

Originally Published: July 6, 2011
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs
Kyle DaviesKevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesKyle Davies' four-seam fastball has not been very effective this season for the Royals.

Whether you prefer Justin Verlander's fastball, Cliff Lee's curveball or Tim Lincecum's changeup, there are a lot of knockout pitches in baseball right now, and the quality of stuff hitters are seeing is one of the reasons that pitchers have the upper hand. Today on ESPN.com, David Schoenfield examines the rise of strikeouts throughout baseball, while Eric Karaball looks at some under-the-radar strikeout pitchers. These pieces tickled our contrarian bone and got us thinking about the worst pitch in baseball.

We're talking about the anti-Verlanders, the pitchers who slumping batters get excited to see, because they know they're going to see pitches that they'll be able to crush. No one serves up more of these slump-busters than Kyle Davies.

Anyone who has had to endure Davies' pitching in Kansas City over the last few years can attest to how often his fastball gets whacked all over the park, but the data reveals just how awful his fastball has actually been. Using FanGraphs' pitch type linear weights, we can see that Davies' four-seam fastball has been 30 runs below average since the start of the 2010 season. That's a staggering total given that he's managed to throw only 220 innings in 42 starts over the last year and a half.


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