U25 Exit Velocity Leaders Update

May 24, 2016

With many hitters eclipsing 100 Hit Tracker events on the season, we are starting to get some meaningful exit velocity data. Christian Yelich's data, for example, shows a 3 MPH exit velocity increase over his 2015 season, which supports his 60+ point jump in wOBA. People partaking on online baseball betting can have confidence in his continued production going forward.

The chart below highlights the top exit velocities for hitters under 25 from MLB.com's Baseball Savant. I've included a 2015 leaderboard to the right -- no age restrictions -- for comparisons.

Note that a sustained 93 MPH average exit velocity puts a player in the game's elite. Cameron Rupp (95.9 MPH), David Ortiz (95.1) and Giancarlo Stanton (95.0) are the only three hitters in baseball with 95+ MPH average exit velocities thus far this season. Only Stanton averaged 95+ MPH in 2015 (98.6 MPH). Four batters averaged 94+ MPH exit velocities in 2015. Thirteen batters currently have 94+ MPH average exit velocities this season.

Miguel Sano has struck out in more than a third of his at-bats this season. He's also pulling the ball a lot less frequently than last year and his home run per fly ball rate is down by more than 10%. The 23-year-old has heated up a bit in May but he still has some adjustments to make before he can start to show off his 80 power with more regularity.

Another hitter who has struggled making contact, Domingo Santana also has hit a lot of ground balls and maintained 4.7 degree launch angle, which isn't conducive to big power numbers. His line drive rate is way up from last season but his fly ball rate is was down. This profile adds up to a streaky hitter with a frustrating, high-upside bat.

Christian Yelich has had an extremely low average launch angle (2.7 degrees) this season. This lends itself to extremely high ground ball rates. But he is an all-fields hitter who drives the ball out of the park when he is able to generate loft. While he may not develop into an annual 20+ home run hitter, his hard-hit ground balls and speed from the left side make him a good bet to continue high batting averages on balls in play.

Joc Pederson continues to strike out in nearly 29% of his plate appearances (he has maintained this average over 750+ MLB plate appearances). But that may not matter much. As far as exit velocity and launch angle go, he's been in near perfect alignment with Mark Trumbo this season.

Randal Grichuk has taken a big step forward as a contact hitter this season but he's also hitting more ground balls, fewer line drives and fewer home runs per fly ball. There's a chance that he's at his best when he takes a bigger swing, even if that means more strikeouts and fewer walks. He's clearly capable of making loud contact.

It takes a extraordinary hitter to combine elite exist velocities with all-around hitting ability. And clearly there is a lot more to hitting than just hitting the ball hard.