Robert Suarez’s Fastball Dominance Shakes Up Major League Baseball

When it comes to the San Diego Padres, one name reigns supreme – Robert Suarez. This hard-throwing closer has been producing high heat like no other pitcher in the majors, leading to his fastball usage jumping almost 30 percentage points from last season. But what’s more impressive is that hitters still can’t hit them, leading to an anomaly in the world of baseball.

The Power of Robert Suarez’s Fastballs

Suarez, known for his quiet demeanor off the field, transforms into a force to be reckoned with on the mound. With an average speed of 98.5 mph, his four-seamer is used just over 80 percent of the time. His sinker, which averages 97.9 mph, makes up close to 11 percent of his pitches. In an astounding eight-game streak last month, Suarez threw a staggering 79 fastballs in a row. It’s a strategy rarely seen, even in high school games, according to Kyle Higashioka, who spent seven seasons with pitchers such as Aroldis Chapman and Gerrit Cole before joining the Padres.

The Impact of Suarez’s Fastballs

Despite his heavy reliance on fastballs, Suarez isn’t just stubbornly sticking to what he knows. With a 0.52 ERA across 16 appearances, the Venezuelan right-hander is proving that his strategy is effective. He’s had outstanding success with his fastball, leading the major-league in games finished (16), saves (12) and saves of more than three outs (three). Batters are struggling to hit his plus changeup and four-seamer, with averages of .250 and .093 respectively.

The Secret Behind Suarez’s Fastballs

According to Suarez, the secret to his success lies in the analytics. “I’ve been helped a lot by Padres pitching coach Ruben Niebla in using all sorts of analytics towards my pitches, primarily the spin rate,” Suarez said. This has allowed him to execute his pitches more effectively, leading to an increase in the active spin on his four-seamer from 93.7 percent in 2022 to 95.9 percent this season. This increased spin efficiency has led to an additional inch of average vertical movement on the pitch, making it even harder for batters to hit.

What’s Next for Suarez?

As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see if Suarez continues to lean on his fastball or if he will introduce more variety into his pitching repertoire. Either way, Suarez’s success this season has been a testament to his skill and strategy. His ability to consistently deliver high-velocity pitches with pinpoint accuracy will no doubt continue to make him a formidable opponent for hitters. As the Padres continue their season, we can expect more fastball spamming from this dynamic player. Stay tuned to see how this unique approach continues to shape Suarez’s career and the Padres’ season.