Getting MLB hitters to swing and miss isn’t everything. Of the three pitchers who draw the most contact from batters, Bartolo Colon (No. 2) and Mark Buehrle (No. 3) stand as shining examples of pitchers who tempt batters to make poor contact so they can get deep into ballgames. It’s no surprise that among leaders in career complete games, Colon ranks second (35 CG) while Buehrle is tied for third (29 CG) among active pitchers.
However, when a pitcher needs a strikeout, there is nothing better than a devastating pitch batters can’t touch. A glance at the top twenty pitchers in avoiding contact reveals mutliple Cy Young winners and a bunch of no-hitters among them. These guys deceive batters into swinging at pitches that look capable of landing in the strike zone yet have the raw stuff to get them to miss.
Here are the ten most unhittable MLB pitchers in 2014. These ten have gotten batters to swing and miss at a higher percentage (i.e. they have the lowest contact rate) than any other hurlers in Major League Baseball. Stats were found on Fangraphs.com and are current as of August 15, 2014.
10. Garrett Richards, Angels
Out in Anaheim, the Angels have the pitcher with the highest average fastball velocity at 96.4 mph, and Richards has found the formula to miss bats on an elite level in his second full MLB season. In 159.2 innings, Richards has a contact rate of 75.2 percent, meaning he misses the bats of opposing hitters about once every four pitches. His strikeout rate of 8.85 K/9, 12-4 record, and 2.54 ERA all point to Richards’s dominance on the hill in 2014.