Yesterday, Jake McGee threw his first inning of 2015. He allowed no hits, and struck out two batters. He threw two curveballs but the main event, as always with McGee, was the fastball.
I won't go so far as to say that Jake McGee has the best fastball in baseball, but it's on the short list. It's one of the hardest fastballs in the league, and it also has a good amount of both rise and run (although the rise is probably a little bit more impressive). There's a reason he can be as good as he is throwing virtually just the one pitch.
So when McGee had offseason surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow, that was cause for concern. I don't want to pass this off as anything more than it is. I certainly don't want to proclaim him 100% back to his old dominant ways. But it is nice to see that McGee's fastball appeared more or less the same as it did pre-surgery.
The following graphs are monthly averages from Brooks Baseball. The dot furthest to the right represents yesterday's game.
Yeah, the velocity was down a little bit compared to the previous two years, but as Kevin discussed, that's to be expected at the beginning of the season, and it's definitely to be expected from a guy in his first appearance after a lengthy rehab. And to say that averaging over 95 mph is "down" is sort of ridiculous.
Jake McGee's horizontal movement was exactly on par with what we saw from him last season. Nothing to worry about here.
The vertical movement was similarly identical to his vertical movement in 2014.
These are all small observations. I do not mean to say that Jake McGee is back and ready to dominate, but the early PITCHf/x data is a good sign. That fastball was one of the transcendent pitches in baseball before the surgery, and it looks like it hasn't changed. That's a relief for Rays fans.