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J.P. Howell is a Bad Dude

Swinging strike rates this season:

Jonathan Papelbon 11.0%

David Aardsma 10.6%

J.P. Howell 10.5%

Joakim Soria 9.2%

 Brandon Morrow 8.2%

 

Average fastball velocity this season:

Jonathan Papelbon 94.5

David Aardsma  93.3

J.P. Howell 84.5

Joakim Soria 90.6

Brandon Morrow 96.5

The difference thus far between Papelbon's blazing fastball and Howell's foggy ‘fastball' is an extra half of a swing over 100 pitches. That adds up to about five swings per season. Yeah, there's a difference there, but not much. Howell doesn't profile like your typical closer, but that doesn't matter. He can get both hands out consistently and generates enough hacks that the velocity is pretty irrelevant.

Howell has the hand and the stuff. There's really no reason to wonder why he's the closest thing to a DRB approved closer.

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Data from StatCorner and FanGraphs