Duran throws fastest pitch of 2023 … again

Duran throws fastest pitch of 2023 … again

5:28 AM UTC

Before he emerged from the visitors’ bullpen on Wednesday night at T-Mobile Park, Twins closer Jhoan Duran already owned the four fastest pitches of the 2023 MLB season, ranging from 104.4-104.6 mph.

The 25-year-old couldn’t help but break his own record while finishing off the Mariners in a 6-3 Minnesota win in Seattle.

Duran uncorked the fastest pitch of 2023 and the 11th-fastest since pitch tracking began in 2008, a 104.8 mph four-seam fastball to Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suárez. Miraculously, Suárez actually put the pitch in play, grounding out to shortstop for the second out of the bottom of the ninth.

Duran wasn’t done. After setting a new season-high for pitch velocity, he flung a 104 mph heater by designated hitter Mike Ford for strike three to pick up his 16th save of the season and give the Twins their second straight victory.

In the midst of his second season in the Majors, Duran owns the second-highest average fastball velocity of any pitcher in the pitch tracking era (behind the Angels’ Ben Joyce). He’s one of just five pitchers to throw a pitch clocked at more than 104 mph — and as Wednesday night showed, that power comes easy to Duran.

The right-hander said he has no particular target he wants to hit on the radar gun; he just keeps doing his thing.

“I throw to home plate like as hard as I can,” he said. “Something happens.”

It sure does. And if history is any indication, Duran’s new record won’t stand for too long. His electric fastball might just be the pitch to break it once again.

“It keeps going into outer space,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I don’t know where it’s going to stop. You see it throughout the league as a whole, where it’s gone from one level to the next level when it comes to velocity. But he’s living on his own planet at this point.”

Do-Hyoung Park contributed reporting.

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