Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds added to a resume that is quickly growing with another accomplishment on Friday night. By logging a strikeout against Jordy Mercer of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chapman struck out a batter in his 40th consecutive appearance. That sets a new MLB record.
As Manny Randhawa of MLB.com notes, that breaks a record that have been kept since 1900. It was previously held by Bruce Sutter, who struck out a hitter in 39 straight games back in 1977. Chapman expressed his excitement about the record afterwards (quotes from MLB.com):
“I’m proud and happy that I’ve got the record,” Chapman said through translator Thomas Vera. “[Since Thursday] when I learned that it was a record that I tied, it was on my mind, and now I feel happy that I have it, and I pray that I have the ability to extend the record.”
The number surrounding Chapman’s streak and his 2014 season in general are simply staggering. He has struck out 54 hitters in just 27.2 innings. For what it’s worth, that number is good for a 17.6 K/9 mark. While he is not a one-pitch guy per se, he does not need much more than his electric fastball. The reason? His average fastball velocity is sitting at 100 mph (per FanGraphs).
Read that again. Chapman does not occasionally reach 100 mph. That is his average fastball velocity. That means plenty of 101, 102, and even occasional 103 MPH fastballs. It’s no wonder that nobody can hit him, and it sure seems like this strikeout streak could last for a while.