Major League Baseball players mash the baseball. Home runs regularly fly 500 feet or more during games. Of course, we know not every hit will be a home run. What we, here at The Hardball Network, want to know is which players are hitting the ball the hardest? Enter Exit Velocity. Exit velocity will be able to help us find the answer to our question; but what is exit velocity and what exactly is it telling us?
MLB.com defines Exit Velocity as, “the speed of a baseball after it is hit by a batter. This includes all Batted Ball Events — outs, hits, and errors.” To calculate exit velocity the MLB uses its Statcast system which is operating within each Major League ballpark. It is through Statcast technology, a series of high resolution cameras and radar equipment, that allows Major League Baseball to track and accuratley measure just how hard a ball was hit.
So, why has exit velocity become so important when evaluating a player’s performance? When paired with Launch Angle data, exit velocity will give us a greater indicator of whats going to happen on a given pitch. In addition, research points to a correaltion between harder hit balls and home run production, as well as, a relationship between exit velocity and slugging percentage. Simply, the harder you hit the baseball the better chance you have of getting a base hit.
Here is a look at the 2017 league leaders in Average Exit Velocity (Exit Velocity/all Batted Ball Events) with at least 300 events as calculated by MLB Statcast.
Do you see any mashers on this list you would want on your team?
|Player||Average Exit Velocity(mph)||Events|
|Player||Exit Velocity (mph)||Hit Type|
|Aaron Judge||121.1*||Home Run (record for a HR)|
|Aaron Judge||119.4||Home Run|
Thanks, to exit velocity we are now able to quantify just how hard the baseball is being hit, how often, and by whom. We are also able to see just how dangerous the New York Yankees are going to be with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge in the middle of the lineup!
Now, exit velosity does not tell us everything about a hitter. There are other factors to consider when evaluating a hit ball such as a player’s gound ball/fly ball ratio and a pitcher’s Exit Velosity Against, but there may not be a better statistic availible that shows the true power of a major leaguer’s swing and their potential to drive the ball.
Our final verdict is, the best hitters in the majors hit the ball really hard.
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