What is the slowest pitch in MLB?
10 pitchers with the slowest tempos who could be most affected by the MLB’s new pitch clock in 2023
After years of speculation, the MLB will officially begin to implement a pitch clock beginning next season. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, pitchers will only be allowed 15 seconds between pitches when the bases are empty and 20 seconds when runners are on base. This rule is expected to make the games much faster, which can be a very good thing. Using the pitch tempo data provided by Statcast, I found the pitchers most likely to be impacted by the new rule. It is particularly interesting to note that relievers dominated this list. If we looked at the players who have thrown at least 750 pitches this season, however, the names that would top the list would look very different. They would include Shohei Ohtani (Angels), Luis Garcia (Astros), Corbin Burnes (Brewers), and Paul Blackburn (A’s). Otherwise, however, these are the players who use the most time between pitches in the MLB:
Hunter Strickland (Reds)
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 18.4 seconds (7th slowest) Runners On – 21.2 seconds (28th slowest) Time to Cut – 2.5 seconds
Josh Staumont (Royals)
William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 18.0 seconds (8th slowest) Runners On – 21.8 seconds (16th slowest) Time to Cut – 2.5 seconds
Joe Kelly (White Sox)
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Bases Empty – 18.9 seconds (5th slowest) Runners On – 21.8 seconds (14th slowest) Time to Cut – 2.9 seconds
Emmanuel Clase (Guardians)
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 18.8 seconds (6th slowest) Runners On – 21.7 seconds (24th slowest) Time to Cut – 3.1 seconds
Alex Colomé (Rockies)
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 17.6 seconds (15th slowest) Runners On – 23.8 seconds (5th slowest) Time to Cut – 3.1 seconds
Devin Williams (Brewers)
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 17.5 seconds (18th slowest) Runners On – 24.7 seconds (2nd slowest) Time to Cut – 3.3 seconds
Kyle Finnegan (Nationals)
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 19.9 seconds (3rd slowest) Runners On – 23.2 seconds (8th slowest) Time to Cut – 4.2 seconds
Kenley Jansen (Braves)
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 19.2 seconds (4th slowest) Runners On – 24.6 seconds (3rd slowest) Time to Cut – 4.4 seconds
Aroldis Chapman (Yankees)
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Bases Empty – 19.9 seconds (2nd slowest) Runners On – 23.9 seconds (6th slowest) Time to Cut – 4.5
Giovanny Gallegos (Cardinals)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
MLB: Yankees’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa throws slowest pitch in team history
Daily Mail 4/14/2023 Alastair Talbot For Dailymail.Com
- His pitch was the slowest of over 350,000 pitches in Yankees’ 103-year history
- Twins routed Yankees, 11-2, extending the team’s winning streak to three games
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
The Yankees sustained their most lopsided loss of the season Thursday and ended with utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa on the mound in the ninth, as he made franchise history for all the wrong reasons.
The 28-year-old threw a 38-mph eephus pitch in a scoreless inning for New York in the team’s 11-2 loss against the Twins. It officially became the slowest pitch of over 350,000 pitches thrown in the Yankees’ 120 years of existence, according to Codify Baseball.
What’s impressive, however, is that Kiner-Falefa only gave up one hit in the last inning of the game and didn’t give up a run while getting three hitters to fly out.
New York (8-5), which had won four of its previous five games, struggled all night against Minnesota’s bullpen. Michael A. Taylor, rookie Eduoard Julien and Carlos Correa hit consecutive first-inning home runs to set the tone early on.
The three blasts proved to cap a nine-run first-inning explosion that sent Minnesota (9-4) to its third consecutive win. The game was the opener of a four-game series.
© Provided by Daily Mail Yankees utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa threw a 38-mph, eephus pitch on Thursday, officially registering the slowest pitch in franchise history in a 11-2 loss against the Twins
The Twins already held a 5-0 lead when Taylor lifted an 0-2 fastball onto the netting above Monument Park in center field to make it 7-0 and chase New York rookie Jhony Brito (2-1).
Julien, who had started the inning with his first career hit, greeted reliever Colten Brewer with a blast into the first row of the left field seats. Correa made it 9-0 with a drive to the right-center field seats, his first homer of the season.
Taylor homered again in the third, a two-run drive off Brewer that was his third long ball of the season. It was Taylor’s third career multi-homer game and first since June 24, 2017, with the Washington Nationals against the Cincinnati Reds.
Before the power display, the Twins took a 3-0 lead on Trevor Larnach’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly and a two-run double by Jose Miranda. Donovan Solano and Christian Vazquez hit RBI doubles for a 5-0 lead before Taylor went deep.
© Provided by Daily Mail Twins shortstop Carlos Correa hit his first home run of the season against the Yankees
Brito allowed seven runs on six hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. The right-hander, who beat the San Francisco Giants and Baltimore Orioles in his first two starts, Brito saw his ERA climb from 0.90 to 6.75.
Minnesota’s Joe Ryan (3-0) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings for his third straight win. He struck out 10, walked none and retired the first 11 hitters before Anthony Rizzo homered.
Rizzo also homered in the ninth off Cole Sands, who pitched the final two innings for Minnesota.
Examining the Twins Pitch Tempos
MLB wants a pitch clock to speed up time of games, and has already implemented a pitch clock in Minor League Baseball. The current clock is set at 14 seconds for when the bases are empty, and allows up to 18 seconds when runners are on. These changes have shaved off 20 minutes from MiLB game times, and MLB has a new policy in the recent CBA that could allow them to implement a pitch clock at the major league level in 45 days, but 2023 seems more likely.
Today, MLB’s Baseball Savant released a «Pitch Tempo Leaderboard», which measures the median time between pitches (release to release thrown to the same batter). Maybe MLB wants to help prepare the public by making this available? It’s not the most insightful data in the world, but it’s fun to conceptualize and match our perceptions with reality. For example, I knew Emilo Pagán was a slower pitcher, but there are some pitchers with a surprising pitch tempo that I didn’t notice.
Below is a quick look at how the current Minnesota Twins pitching staff currently fares in this department compared to the league, and then we’ll dive into the slowest and fastest pitchers on the staff with bases empty and runners on base scenarios.
MLB Average Pitch Tempo vs. Twins Average Pitch Tempo
- MLB Average With Runners Empty: 18.2 seconds
- Twins Average With Runners Empty: 18.9 seconds
- MLB Average With Runners On Base: 23.6 seconds
- Twins Average With Runners On Base: 24.3 seconds
Overall, the Twins have a slower pitch tempo than other teams. It doesn’t appear to matter if the bases are empty or if the bases have traffic. We can’t determine if this is a philosophy of Derek Falvey and pitching coach Wes Johnson, or if it’s just the mix of pitchers on the staff. Every pitcher likely developed habits long before they were in the Twins system, especially older players who had no pitch clock prior to their MLB careers.
Pitcher-Level Pitch Tempos — Bases Empty
The table below is sorted by average pitch tempo when Bases are Empty.
Fast Tempos with the Bases Empty:
- Jhoan Duran and Dylan Bundy lead the Twins pitching staff with a tempo of 15.7 seconds.
- Duran leads the Twins in percentage of pitches that are considered «Fast» (thrown under 15 second), at 37.1%.
- This appears to be very unusual for a reliever, as Duran ranks 50th across all of MLB Pitch Tempos with the bases empty. Most of the pitchers above him are starting pitchers.
- 8 out of 14 qualified Twins pitchers are faster than the MLB Average pitch tempo with the bases empty (18.2 seconds).
Slow Tempos with the Bases Empty:
- Cody Stashak has the slowest pitch tempo on the team when the bases are empty, with 24.1 seconds between pitches. This ranks as the 13th slowest pitch tempo in MLB when the bases are empty.
- Most of the Twins bullpen outside of Duran has taken Stashak’s approach. Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, Emilo Pagán, and Danny Coulombe haven’t thrown a single pitch under 15 seconds this year, and all average over 20 seconds with empty bases.
- Chris Archer has the slowest tempo of the starting pitchers with the bases empty, at 19.5 seconds between pitches. All other starters are below 17,7 seconds.
Pitcher-Level Pitch Tempos — Runners On Base
The table below is sorted by average tempo when runners are on base.
Fast Tempos with Runners On Base:
- Dylan Bundy is the fastest pitcher on the staff overall with runners on bases, with an average tempo of 21.6 seconds. This is 5.9 seconds above his tempo with the bases empty.
- While this is the fastest tempo with runners on base across the Twins pitching staff, Bundy’s 21.6 seconds between pitches ranks 77th in MLB. This indicates that the team take time with runners on base as a staff.
- Joe Ryan has the second fastest pitch tempo with runners on base, at 22.5 seconds. He is the only Twins pitcher to throw a single pitch under 15 seconds with traffic on the bases (only 1.1% in this scenario).
- While Jhoan Duran is a speed demon with the bases empty, he slows down considerably when runners are on base at 23.9 seconds between pitches. This is a difference of 8.2 seconds to his pitch tempo from when the bases are empty.
- Only 4 of the 14 qualified Twins pitchers are faster than the MLB Average pitch tempo with the bases empty (23.6 seconds).
Slow Tempos with Runners On Base:
- The slowest pitches with runners are actually starters: Josh Winder (26.4 seconds) and Chris Paddack (26.2). These tempos rank 46th and 60th in MLB, respectively.
- Winder also has the highest percentage of pitches over 30 second with runners on base, at 22.2%.
- Chris Paddack has the largest difference in tempo between bases empty and runners on, with 9.1 seconds added.
- Cody Stashak is weird. He is the only Twins pitcher on the staff that is actually faster when runners are on base. His pitch tempo is 23.8 second with runners on, which 0.3 seconds faster than with the bases empty. This could be due to him pitching in low-leverage situations, but that’s me speculating.
- Caleb Thielbar, Danny Coulombe, and Emilo Pagán all have nearly the exact same pitch tempo with runners on base (25.4 — 25.5 seconds).
Who would be in violation of the current Minor League Pitch Clock? The current limit is 14 seconds with the bases empty, and 18 seconds with runners on base.
- All Twins pitchers have an average pitch tempo above 14 seconds with the bases empty and above 18 seconds with runners on base. They would all be in violation!
- However, only 8 MLB pitchers have a pitch tempo that would not be in violation with the bases empty, and only one (Wade Miley) wouldn’t be in violation with runners on bases.
Fun Chart Time
I highly suggest using the «compare» tool to see how pitchers vary in pitch tempo. You can see how consistent Dylan Bundy (the speed king) is, while Cody Stashak can be all over the place.
If you got to the end of this post, congratulations. I hope you read this at a quick tempo, like Dylan Bundy.