That headline alone is enough to strike fear in the hearts of Major League hitters.
The player behind that eye-popping number?
Michael Kopech, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-handed pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization. The 20-year-old Kopech is currently playing for the Salem Red Sox, Boston’s high A-ball affiliate. Last night, he pitched five scoreless innings while striking out eight in a game against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. His stat line was impressive, but the real story of the night was his 105-mph pitch. Though it didn’t catch the strike zone, the 105 reading was verified by two separate radar guns.
To put that type of blistering velocity in context, the hardest pitch of the 2016 MLB season thus far is an 103.8-mph heater from Aroldis Chapman.
“Your eye is not trained to see 105. You’ve never seen it before unless it’s off some sort of machine,” Salem manager Joe Oliver told Baseball America. Kopech also peppered in several other 100-plus-mph pitches during his outing.
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So, how in the world can a 20-year-old kid throw 105 mph?
You certainly don’t get there without training incredibly hard. Kopech spent the off-season training at Accelerate Performance Enhancement Center in Tyler, Texas. According to an interview with 12up.com, one of his goals was to add muscle to his long frame. Judging by this Instagram post, we’d say that mission was accomplished:
To generate the kind of force needed to hurl a baseball 105 miles per hour, one must have incredible lower-body strength. Based on Kopech’s ability to pull serious weight during Deadlifts, we’d say he meets the requirement:
If Kopech can keep his arm healthy as he continues to mature physically, he could be launching even faster pitches in the near future.
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