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Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison Among Highest Average Fastball Velocity Leaders

From Fangraphs, here are the top 20 starters so far in 2011 by highest average velocity:

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Michael Pineda95.5
David Price94.6
Edinson Volquez94.1
Josh Johnson94.1
Alexi Ogando93.8
Justin Verlander93.8
Daniel Hudson93.7
Esmil Rogers93.6
Derek Holland93.5
Felix Hernandez93.3
Edwin Jackson93.3
Matt Garza93.3
Jorge de la Rosa93.2
Clayton Kershaw93.2
Bud Norris93.1
Kyle Drabek93.0
Matt Harrison93.0
Jake Arrieta93.0
Roy Oswalt92.8
Tim Lincecum92.8
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Aside from the obvious connection that these three young Rangers starters slated to pitch in Yankee Stadium this weekend are among the top 17 in velocity, I find a few other items interesting:

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  • Ogando, Holland and Harrison all rank in the top eight in the AL.
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  • Price, Holland, de la Rosa, Kershaw and Harrison are the top five lefties. Holland and Harrison are second and third among AL lefties.
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  • Every  pitcher on this list (aside from Drabek, who thorws a cutter instead) has a slider that averages at least 81 mph. Ogando's "slider" has averaged 78.9 mph. Verlander's slider is 85.9, and his curve is 77.9. I'm not sure what kind of grip Ogando uses, but his breaking ball behaves like a curveball in terms of break and velo.
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  • Ogando has thrown 34.9% "sliders." Only Jackson on this list throws a higher percentage, and Ogando's percentage is fifth highest in MLB. According to Fangraphs' numbers, he's thrown seven changeups in his two starts.
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  • C.J. Wilson's 90.0 ranks 65th out of 105 ranked pitchers. Colby Lewis' 87.9 ranks 190th.
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  • Livan Hernandez has a lower average fastball velocity so far than R.A. Dickey.
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As far as pitch quality:

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  • Harrison's fastball has a "wFB" (tells us how many runs above average the pitch is) of 5.7, second only to Verlander (5.8) and a full run better than Zach Britton, who is third. Ogando is sixth.
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  • Ogando also has the sixth highest wSL in MLB. Only Josh Johnson, Dan Haren and Ogando have two pitches worth more than three runs above average so far.
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  • Wilson's cutter is sixth best in MLB at 1.8.
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  • No Rangers starter has a wCH (changeup) or wCB (curve) higher than 0.0. That's Ogando's change rating.
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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.