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Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball

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Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
I was just watching the All-Star game, not paying much attention. Takaaki Igarashi of Yakult was pitching. I think they said he has thrown 158 kph.

As far I know 158 kph is the Japanese record for the fastest pitch and has been achieved by 2 pitchers - Hideki Irabu and one other pitcher. I think the other pitcher is Igarashi.

Can anyone confirm this statistic?
Comments
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Jul 12, 2004 11:42 AM | HT Fan ]

Correct. Irabu and Igarashi both threw 158 km/h.

I saw Igarashi throw 157 km/h a month or so ago, and I heard he threw 156 km/h in the All Star game. I hope he (or someone else) goes on to set a new record.

A couple of years ago, Shinobu Fukuhara threw 157km/h for Hanshin, but then he ruined his arm. After surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, Fukuhara's back on the mound, but he's not the heater he once was.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: jballfan | Posted: Jul 12, 2004 7:10 PM ]

First of all, just a small correction: The Swallows' pitcher that is being referred to is Ryota Igarashi, not Takaaki Igarashi, who I think hasn't even pitched a single game on the top team yet.

And, Hideki Irabu and Ryota Igarashi aren't the only ones to have thrown 158 km/h. Last year (or maybe two years ago), a young pitcher of the Orix BlueWave, Yamaguchi, threw 158 km/h.

It's been less than one month since Igarashi threw the 158 km/h pitch, so it is possible that the "other guy" you knew about was Yamagachi. Igarashi's still about 25, and he has a couple of years until he peaks in terms of his strength. The ease with which he throws 5 pitches in a row at a speed of 155 km/h, I wouldn't be surprised if he hits 160 km/h [100 mph] some time in the next couple of seasons.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: larryo | Posted: Jul 17, 2004 7:55 PM | HT Fan ]

I went to the japanesebaseball.com site and clicked on "team" for Yakult and scrolled down until I found the name Igarashi. Yes, there are 2 men with that name on the team, and the correct pitcher is Ryota Igarashi. Thank you for the correction jballfan.

I think we will see a 100 mph (160 km) fastball eventually, maybe in the next five years. As someone said, Ryota Igarashi is 25 and reaching his peak in terms of strength over the next 2 to 3 years.

In case you are interested the Major League (and world record as far as I know) for the fastest pitch in a game is 102 mph (about 163 kph). This speed was recorded in a game by 3 pitchers:
  • Randy Johnson
  • Armando Benitez
  • Rob Nenn

The fastest speed ever recorded is 103 mph (about 165 kph) by Mark Wohlers in spring training 1995.

Here is a link with this info: [Link - Baseball Almanac]

Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: c02one | Posted: May 21, 2005 8:38 PM ]

I have to disagree with the claim that 102 mph has been the highest velocity. The highest velocity attained during an MLB game has been 105 mph, and there are only two players that I know to have done that: Billy Wagner and Randy Johnson. Wagner, back when he played with the Astros in 2000 and before he blew his elbow out, and Johnson back in Arizona in 2001.
OT: Fastest Fastball
[ Author: Guest: John Brooks | Posted: May 27, 2005 9:21 AM ]

This article [Sports Illustrated] says former Orioles' farmhand pitcher Steve Dalkowski threw at least 105 mph, though Dalkowski had control issues, and radar guns were yet present in baseball then. Personally, I don't believe anyone can throw in an excess of 103-104 mph.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Chris | Posted: May 29, 2008 11:11 AM ]

I realize that this is an old thread, but I just need to add this.

No one has ever thrown a baseball 105 mph. Randy Johnson was once clocked at 102 and hasn't achieved that speed on more than several pitches. Billy Wagner's top speed was 101. Rarely do either of these men hit 100.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Matt | Posted: Jun 1, 2009 11:08 AM ]

I realize that this is an old thread, but I just need to add this. Here's a video of when Marc Kroon reached 162 km/h [YouTube] on a pitch.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Jingu Bleacher Bum | Posted: Jul 12, 2004 9:35 PM | YAK Fan ]

Yakult Swallows' reliever Ryota Igarashi tied the NPB record for fastest recorded pitch at Koushien park against the Hanshin Tigers on June 3, 2004, in the bottom of the 9th inning by throwing a 158 kph pitch to Hanshin's Makoto Imaoka. His personal best so far was 157 kph thrown on July 9, 2003 against the Tokyo Giants at Jingu Stadium. He is now tied for the record with Hideki Irabu who hit the 158 mark back in 1993 with the Chiba Lotte Marines, and Kazuo Yamaguchi who did it in 2002 with the Orix Blue Wave.

Igarashi was interviewed after throwing one inning in the All-Star game on July 11 in Nagano, where he only reached 152 kph, and said he would like to try for either 159 or 160 sometime this year or next. Seibu's Daisuke Matsuzaka is also another potential pitcher to hit that mark. I believe his personal best is 156 kph thrown a couple of times including during Saturday's All-Star game at Nagoya Dome.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Jul 13, 2004 1:10 AM ]

There are many other NPB picthers who probably threw as hard as anyone who is playing now. Namely,
  • Yukio Ozaki (Toei Flyers)
  • Yutaka Enatsu (Hanshin Tigers)
  • Takashi Yamaguchi (Hankyu Braves)
  • Masaichi Kaneda (Kokutetsu Swallows)

I personally saw Enatsu and Yamaguchi at their prime. I'm pretty sure they hit 158 kph or above.

Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: KungFu | Posted: Jul 13, 2004 12:07 AM ]

How many miles per hour is that?
Kilometers - Miles Conversion
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jul 13, 2004 8:42 AM | YBS Fan ]

Divide kilometers per hour by 1.6 to get miles per hour. So 160 kph = 100 mph.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: niibu_yaa | Posted: Jul 18, 2004 1:02 PM | FSH Fan ]

Let's Not forget Arakaki Nagisa of FDH fame. He was clocked at 156 in college.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Gary Garland | Posted: Jul 19, 2004 10:16 AM ]

Steve Dalkowski was reportedly clocked at 106 mph, but he didn't have any control whatsoever, and so never really was able to make a real go at sticking in the major leagues. Ron Fairly tells a story about standing in against Dalkowski, which he called frightening.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Sendo Allan | Posted: Jul 20, 2004 5:31 AM ]

It's Irabu, Kobayashi, and now Igrashi who are the three baseball pitchers in Japan, each having thrown 158 km.

Kobayashi played for the Orix BlueWave. It's not the Chiba Lotte pitcher Kobayashi - it7s a different guy! I don't know where he is now. Maybe retired? Injured? At home playing with kids? Hahaha!
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Joe randolph | Posted: Aug 5, 2004 7:24 AM ]

This [Baseball Almanac] is the link for a documentary of the fastest fastballs ever thrown.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: tfk22587 | Posted: Aug 20, 2004 1:09 PM ]

Many thanks to Guest Joe for the link to the baseball almanac site. Anyone interested in converting the feet-per-second speeds measured for historical pitchers such as (Walter Johnson) will appreciate the convenient pitch speed calculator included on the bottom of this site. Maybe it's just because I'm pitching-obsessed, but I enjoyed this for an hour or so.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Jingu Bleacher Bum | Posted: Sep 20, 2004 10:37 PM | YAK Fan ]

Yakult Swallows' closer Ryota Igarashi just hit the 158 kph mark on 3 consecutive pitches in the top of the 9th inning during the Monday Sept 20th game vs. the Hanshin Tigers at Jingu Stadium. With the bases loaded, 2 outs, and the score 4-3 in favor of Yakult, Igarashi fired 3 consecutive pitches at the 158 kph mark to Hanshin catcher Akihiro Yano.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: WayneMcGwire | Posted: Oct 7, 2004 3:56 PM ]

I saw Matsuzaka had thrown 159 kmh during the 2004 Olympic baseball tournament. And during that series, most pitchers from Japan threw over something like 153-155, as shown on TV live. But I doubt it was true because, during that series, Wang of Taiwan threw 159 and Tsao of Taiwan threw up to 161.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Jingu Bleacher Bum | Posted: Apr 30, 2005 9:49 PM | YAK Fan ]

Yokohama's Marc Kroon tied the NPB record of 158 kph during the 9th inning of the April 30th game against the Chunichi Dragons at Yokohama Stadium. Dragons' pinch hitter Kazuki Inoue struck out on the 5th pitch from Kroon, clocked at 158 kph, to become the 4th pitcher in NPB history to reach the mark.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: CC | Posted: Jun 6, 2005 1:16 PM ]

AJ Burnett topped 104 mph (167 kph) on June 1st against the Washington Nationals.
Re: Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Something Lions | Posted: Jun 6, 2005 3:55 PM | SL Fan ]

From Ben Maller's Sports Rumors & Notes:
Several scouts confirmed that Marlins pitcher A.J. Burnett did not hit 104 mph with a first-inning fastball Tuesday. The PNC Park scoreboard registered that figure on a pitch Burnett threw to Freddy Sanchez, drawing amused looks from players on both benches. The scoreboard was turned off and recalibrated after that. Scouts said Burnett was consistently hitting in the upper 90s and low 100s.
Apparently, it wasn't so. :P

Here's an interesting article [Slate.com] about the theoretical limit of how fast a fastball can be.
Re: Fastest Fastball in MLB
[ Author: Guest: Angus young | Posted: Jun 7, 2005 9:41 AM ]

The fastest pitch in baseball history was by Roger Clements as he threw a pitch at 167 mph, not km, but mph. The ball almost broke through the pitchers glove.
Re: Fastest Fastball in MLB
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jun 7, 2005 12:49 PM | HAN Fan ]

Kmh - mph is impossible.
Re: Fastest Fastball in MLB
[ Author: Guest: John Brooks | Posted: Jun 8, 2005 8:02 AM ]

- The fastest pitch in baseball history was by Roger Clements as he threw a pitch at 167 mph, not km, but mph.

No it wasn't. The fastest pitch so far is a 103 mph (165 kph) pitch by then Atlanta Braves pitcher Mark Wohlers. Second, throwing 167 mph is not even possible. Even throwing over 103-04 mph is virtually impossible.
Re: Fastest Fastball in MLB
[ Author: Guest: Joe | Posted: Jul 25, 2005 11:41 AM ]

Marc Kroon of the Yokohama Baystars threw a 161 KMH fast ball recently.
Kroon hits 160
[ Author: Guest: zman | Posted: Aug 3, 2005 10:20 PM ]

Kroon pitched tonight against the Tigers in the ninth. What a sight to see. Kanemoto battled Kroon to get a hit after swinging late on two smoking fastballs. Kroon was up to 160kph on the gun tonight.
Re: Kroon Hits 160
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Aug 4, 2005 9:42 PM | HAN Fan ]

Not a particularly wonderful performance, but quite good. You should have seen Kroon at Koshien the day after he broke the record. Nothing above 160, but awesome variation and control - that was a great example of pitching.
Re: Kroon Hits 160
[ Author: mijow | Posted: Aug 5, 2005 2:11 AM | HT Fan ]

Yes, I wasn't impressed with his control. Kroon actually could have been in trouble on Wednesday if Imaoka had only laid off the first few pitches. I was screaming at the TV - don't swing! But he ignored me and instead of a lead off walk with the possibility of a man on second with the sac bunt, the Tigers were one down, nobody on. Then of course there was that balk that the umpires missed.

Anyway the trick seems to be to just let Kroon break as many speed records as he likes - just lay off the first couple of pitches and you'll find yourself with a free pass. (Of course with the ball hurtling through the air at 160K, that's easier said than done.)
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