Taking a brief break before getting back to my "Top under 23" lists, Baseball America's article today inspired me to indicate which of the top fastballers I'd like to see on my team. It's a subscribers only article, so I'm not going to take much from it, but it's great stuff.
1. Joba Chamberlain, Yankees
Not only does Joba have the #2 fastball in the minors, he's also got the best control of anyone in the top 25 (best fastballs).
2. Jake McGee, Rays
A lefty. With that fastball. And that control. And throwing 140 innings in the minors...
3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Another lefty, this one with a 99 mph fastball? Not quite McGee's control (which isn't quite Joba's control), but it's servicable, and he was 19 in AA.
4. Chris Withrow, Dodgers
He's only 18, and he hasn't thrown much, but I like what I've seen.
5. Aaron Poreda, Cubs
Not sure what's going on with him, but he's got really nice control to go along with his huge fastball. And he's a lefty.
Bad doesn't describe Daniel Bard, Red Sox, second season. Awful, just awful. 9.4 and 5.6 wouldn't be terrible numbers for walks and ks/9, if it wasn't represented exactly that way, respectively. 9.4 bb/9 and 5.6 k/9 is just miserable, especially for a 22 yo in LoA. He'll be going to the bullpen next, but if he can't develop any control, he'll be on his way to the glue factory.
Second worst was Craig Italiano, but he's such a sad case I can't begin to say anything about him (he lost his second season in a row to injury, this time due to a skull fracture). If he can come back, he has promise, as his K/9 number was 12.7 to go with his 8.5 bb/9.
Jeff Samardzija did something I would have thought was impossible--throw near 100 mph, walk only 2.8 bb/9, and yet only strikeout 4.1/9. 4.1 k/9 when you're throwing that hard makes no sense, especially when demonstrating otherwise good control. It's not like it was a small innings sample either--that's 142 innings. Bizarre.