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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Twins Miguel Sano is 2017’s hardest hitter | MLB.com

Highest percentage of batted balls hit 95 mph or harder in 2017
68.3 percent—Sano, Twins
58.9 percent—Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
58.0 percent—Khris Davis, A’s
57.6 percent—Joey Gallo, Rangers
55.5 percent—Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers
54.6 percent—Manny Machado, Orioles
52.9 percent—Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
51.3 percent—Aaron Judge, Yankees
51.3 percent—Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
51.0 percent—Justin Bour, Marlins
Minimum 50 balls in play. MLB average—33.5 percent

Jim Furtado Posted: May 18, 2017 at 10:50 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: statcast

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   1. Brian Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5458535)
Castellanos seems to be among the leaders in Line Drive percentage and things like this list far more than his actual results would indicate.
   2. BDC Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:16 PM (#5458550)
I think that Sano would be one of the harder hitters on the Vikings. The guy is massive.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:40 PM (#5458589)
I wonder if I'm even capable of hitting a ball 95 mph.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: May 18, 2017 at 06:36 PM (#5458957)
#1: So far there's not a lot of correlation between avg. exit velocity and production. (not the same as the stat here of course but the two are related). An obvious example is Ryan Zimmerman who has been very high in these lists the last two years while being terrible; he's there again this year while being otherworldly.

Castellanos might be unusual in that he also doesn't hit many GBs. His main problem of course is the 25% K-rate which will hold his numbers down but good EV and high FB rate should result in pretty good results on batted balls. That was somewhat true last year when he hit 390/680 on-contact (excellent BA, not so impressive SLG for that BA) but this year he's pretty pedestrian on-contact (320/550). But he also hits very few pop-ups.

So I guess he's a true LD hitter. His hardest hit balls must be hit at too low an angle to get out with half resulting in LDs and maybe half in GBs. Genuine FBs must result mainly from contact just under the ball on a LD swing rather than good contact on a rising swing.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 18, 2017 at 10:47 PM (#5459091)
So I guess he's a true LD hitter. His hardest hit balls must be hit at too low an angle to get out


Well if he's hitting them hard but too flat he would seem to be a good candidate to try the new swing where he gets a steeper launch angle?

   6. Walt Davis Posted: May 19, 2017 at 02:55 AM (#5459129)
Well if he's hitting them hard but too flat he would seem to be a good candidate to try the new swing where he gets a steeper launch angle?

I suppose. He just seems an odd type to me. Zimmerman was hitting the ball fairly hard for 2015-16 (and obviously 17) but pounding it into the ground (relatively speaking). That's an obvious candidate for changing the plane of his swing.

On the other hand, some guys who hit the ball in the air frequently hit it too much in the air, resulting in (among other things) lots of pop-ups.

Castellanos isn't either of those types. His career G/F is .58 compared with league average of .84 ... so he's hitting GB only 37% of the time when he hits it. But he's not hitting pop-ups or HRs (HR/FB of 6.3% vs 8.0% league). He is hitting LDs a lot more often than league (29% vs 25%) ... I'd think that would be a guy with a pretty high BA, lots of doubles, etc. He does have a good BABIP of 327, he does have about 30 doubles a year so I guess he is kinda that guy. Unfortunately all those Ks bring his BA down to 261 resulting in a 261/310/426, 102 OPS+ line for his career ... which is not awesome for a poor-fielding 3B.

But if you told me there was a player with .58 G/F and a 29% LD rate, I'd have been more likely to think we're talking about Trout or Cabrera, not plain ol' Nick Castellanos. Or if you then told me he had a low pop-up rate, I'd start thinking Votto. That one is intersting:

JV: 355 BABIP, 29% LD, 3% IF/FB, .73 G/F, 61% IP
NC: 327 BABIP, 29% LD, 4% IF/FB, .58 G/F, 66% IP

Obviously Castellanos would never match Votto's K-rate (7% lower) or BB-rate (10% higher) but the IP%s are about the same. Votto's BA comes out 51 points higher and his ISO 60 points higher. The closest split to "on-contact" is "fair territory" where Votto hits 400/695 and Castellanos "just" 357/591. Those aren't great numbers but they are Hosmer, Pence, Jhonny Peralta type numbers and those guys are all 5-15 OPS+ points better -- I guess that's mostly K-rate. But Pence and Hosmer are heavy GB hitters -- who still manage better HR/FB rates than Castellanos. It's like his zone of contact is completely restricted to 10 to 21 degrees which just seems bizarre.

So try to change the launch angle and hope the extra HRs compensate for the drop in LD% (I assume) and jump in pop-ups ... or try to cut down on the Ks and hope he continues to make the hard, LD contact? In both scenarios it would be good to push his walk rate up at least to league average (an extra 15 points of OBP there).
   7. Brian Posted: May 19, 2017 at 02:12 PM (#5459436)
Thanks gentlemen, there is no single answer but your replies shed some light on my question.

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