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Top these: Cardinals' best Statcast numbers

@anne__rogers
January 8, 2021

ST. LOUIS -- When a player makes a huge play during a game, like launching a home run farther than typically seen or making a great catch in the outfield, we always like to see where it ranks among other club feats or if it’s ever been done before. Since

ST. LOUIS -- When a player makes a huge play during a game, like launching a home run farther than typically seen or making a great catch in the outfield, we always like to see where it ranks among other club feats or if it’s ever been done before.

Since it began measuring in 2015, Statcast has allowed us to track those numbers -- who has hit the farthest home run, who has thrown the fastest pitch, who has the hardest exit velocity and more.

Here’s a guide to the best St. Louis Statcast numbers so far, compiled with help from Statcast guru Sarah Langs of MLB.com:

Hardest ball resulting in a hit of any kind: Marcell Ozuna, 117.2 mph
Ozuna owns the top three exit velocities for a hit of any kind since Statcast began, but his hardest came on his first home run as a Cardinal. On April 3, 2018, Ozuna crushed a pitch from Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson into the left-center bleachers at Miller Park for a two-run home run in the Cardinals’ eventual loss to the Brewers. Ozuna would go on to hit a home run with a 115.3 mph exit velocity on April 8, 2019, against the Dodgers and a double with a 114.5 exit velocity on May 19, 2019, against the Rangers for the top three Cardinals exit velocities since Statcast began.

Fastest pitch hit for a home run: Jedd Gyorko, 100.7 mph
On the second-to-last day of the 2016 season, Gyorko blasted the game-winning home run off of Pirates reliever Felipe Vázquez in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium. Vázquez's 3-2 fastball came in at 100.7 mph and left Gyorko's bat at 99.8 mph, landing in the right-field bleachers to put the Cardinals up 4-3. Keep in mind that this is just since Statcast began measuring; while pitch velocities can be tracked back to 2008, we’re sticking with data from 2015 for these numbers.

Highest launch angle for a home run: Matt Carpenter, 49 degrees
It was a historic day for Carpenter, who belted three home runs and two doubles on July 20, 2018, at Wrigley Field. His third home run that day was a three-run shot, a high fly into right field, where Jason Heyward lost it in the ivy and signaled a home run. Carpenter hit it hard, at 101.1 mph, off of Cubs reliever Brian Duensing.

Highest pitch for a home run: José Martínez, 4.14 feet above the ground
On June 30, 2018, then-Braves pitcher Matt Wisler did not see his 0-1 slider to Martínez go where he wanted it to land. Instead of having it called for a ball, the 6-foot-6 first baseman launched it over the center-field wall at Busch Stadium. It came in the ninth inning, taking away the shutout the Braves were then pitching in the Cardinals’ 11-4 loss.

Lowest pitch for a home run: Marcell Ozuna, 1.02 feet above the ground
Remember that historic series at Wrigley Field in September 2019, when the Cardinals swept the Cubs in four games? The Saturday game -- Sept. 21, 2019 -- was highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong off Craig Kimbrel to win the game. But before that transpired, the storyline was Ozuna’s golf-swing home run to give the Cardinals back the lead in the top of the seventh inning. On an 0-2 cutter from Cubs reliever Kyle Ryan, Ozuna went down and put the ball in the right-center bleachers.

Highest expected batting average for an out: Brandon Moss, .986
Another windy day at Wrigley Field brought back what would have been Moss’ second home run on June 20, 2016, against the Cubs. Moss smoked a cutter from Cubs starter John Lackey for an exit velocity of 110.3 mph, but the wind knocked it back into center field for Albert Almora Jr. to catch it easily on the warning track. Expected batting average is based on exit velocity and launch angle, so likely in another ballpark, or on another day at Wrigley Field, that ball would have been over the wall.

Lowest expected batting average for a hit: Eric Fryer and Yadier Molina, .003
Molina scratched out a double on April 8, 2017, when the veteran catcher lifted a high fly to shallow right field against the Reds. Right fielder Patrick Kivlehan and second baseman Scooter Gennett couldn’t get there quite in time, with Kivlehan sliding and dropping the ball just fair. With two outs, Matt Adams was already on his way home, and Molina made it to second to send the Cardinals on their way to a 10-4 win.

Fryer’s single came a little over a month later, on May 28, 2017, when he popped up to first base against the Rockies in Denver. First baseman Mark Reynolds seemed to have lost the ball in the sun and dropped the ball, putting Fryer on first in the Cardinals’ 8-4 loss.

Fastest pitch thrown: Jordan Hicks, 105.0 mph
Hicks is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers the Cardinals have ever seen, and it’s even better that we can witness it with Statcast around. On May 20, 2018, the closer threw not one but two 105-mph pitches against the Phillies. The first came on a wide 0-1 pitch to Odubel Herrera, and you can hear the crowd light up when they see 105 flash on the radar gun. The second came later in the at-bat, on a 1-2 pitch that Herrera was able to foul off. Hicks finished out the ninth inning that day, notching the save in the Cardinals’ 5-1 win.

Fastest strikeout pitch thrown: Jordan Hicks, 104.2 mph
Hicks’ fastest pitch to strike someone out came on April 21, 2019, against the Mets’ Juan Lagares. With two outs in the ninth inning, a runner on first and the Cardinals leading 6-4, Hicks delivered a 104.2-mph sinker on the bottom left corner, which Lagares looked at for the final strike.

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.