|Buehrle works fast. Peralta does not. (US Presswire)|
As the world moves more toward technology, things get more fast-paced and patience is lost all the more easily. Thus, pace of baseball games should be important to the game moving forward. For example, if there's a pitcher taking 25 seconds between pitches, the younger generation of fans is more likely to lose interest rather quickly.
With that in mind, I found a study on Fangraphs.com very interesting. Jeff Sullivan has broken down every pitcher who threw at least 30 innings in the majors last season and how long they took per plate appearance and per inning.
Not surprisingly, then-Marlins starter Mark Buehrle was the fastest worker, needing only 63.6 seconds per plate appearance. So, basically, he could throw a perfect game in about a half hour of mound time. Other fast workers include Clayton Richard, John Danks and R.A. Dickey.
On the flip-side, Rays reliever Joel Peralta averaged 132.4 seconds per plate appearance. Yes, an entire minute longer per batter. Just imagine how much longer he'd take now after tweaking his neck while on a sandwich run. One item that I found rather interesting here was that every member of top 10 slowest workers per plate appearance was a reliever. Rounding out the top five behind Peralta: Jose Valverde (shocking, I know), Jonathan Broxton, Jason Frasor and Joaquin Benoit.
In terms of time per inning, reliever Scott Atchison was fastest, with Dickey, Kris Medlen, Buehrle and Richard following. On the slowest-per-inning list, Frasor led the way, followed by Valverde, Peralta, John Axford and Juan Cruz.
I am surprised Josh Beckett isn't on either "slow" list. He's just the first name that comes to mind when I think about slow-working pitchers. Overall, though, it seems relievers take a lot more time than starters, so it's possible Beckett would top all other starters.
Sullivan's entire post is worth a read to anyone interested in this topic because it's great work. And his close is outstanding:
To close with a fun fact: last year, Kris Medlen threw 138 innings, and he spent approximately 9.8 hours on the mound in the act of pitching. Jose Valverde threw 69 innings, and he spent approximately 10.4 hours on the mound in the act of pitching. That is, Valverde spent more overall time standing on the mound last season than Medlen did, despite throwing half as many innings. I can think of reasons I'm sad Valverde doesn't yet have a job. I can think of reasons I'm not sad in the least.
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