This marks the second season of Statcast™, and that means we have an entire season of data about exit velocity, spin rate, extension, arm strength, lead distance, launch angle and just about anything else you can think of, for every team. Let's get the season started in style by running down
This marks the second season of Statcast™, and that means we have an entire season of data about exit velocity, spin rate, extension, arm strength, lead distance, launch angle and just about anything else you can think of, for every team. Let's get the season started in style by running down an interesting Statcast™ stat for each team -- in many cases, something that never could have been measured prior to 2015.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Video: BOS@NYM: Statcast™
Blue Jays:1.11 seconds: Ryan Goins' baseball-leading exchange time, which is a way to measure the time that elapses between a fielder receiving the ball and releasing the throw. What that means is that no infielder in the game managed to get rid of the ball as quickly as Goins did, which makes sense given his stellar defensive reputation.
Orioles:82.2 mph:Darren O'Day's average exit velocity against on four-seam fastballs, the second lowest among 407 pitchers who threw at least 100 of them. Despite averaging just 88 mph on his otherwise unimposing fastball, O'Day's swing-and-miss rate of 36.8 percent was better than every pitcher other than Aroldis Chapman, and the hitters that did make contact against O'Day's funky sidearm delivery failed to make good contact, leading to a .097 average against it.
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Rays:327 feet: Average feet from home plate, in terms of where star center fielder Kevin Kiermaier positions himself. Even when accounting for park dimensions, he's baseball's deepest center fielder, by nearly 60 feet over the shallowest.
Red Sox:94.4 mph: That's David Ortiz' exit velocity, the third highest in baseball behind Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista (minimum 200 tracked batted balls). Even at age 39 last year, Ortiz cracked 37 homers, because he still crushes the ball -- a fact that went a long way towards expecting him to rebound from a sluggish start to 2015. (Spoiler alert: He did.)
Yankees:97.3 mph:Nathan Eovaldi's four-seam fastball velocity, an elite number that was the second highest among starters, behind only Noah Syndergaard. Despite the heat, Eovaldi's fastball doesn't have particularly notable spin in either direction, which is why he's spent so much time attempting to supplement it with his other pitches.
Video: Statcast™ breaks down Sano's numbers at the plate
Indians:85.7 mph: The perceived velocity on Cody Allen's knuckle-curve, the second highest in baseball behind Craig Kimbrel. Allen, among baseball's most underrated closers, allowed just two extra-base hits on the pitch last year despite throwing it more than 400 times.
Royals:2,540 rpm: That's the spin rate on Wade Davis' cut fastball, the second highest in baseball (of the 128 pitchers who threw 50) behind only Kenley Jansen, who has a cutter so elite it draws comparisons to Mariano Rivera's. Davis allowed just 10 hits on the cutter all year long, proving that he's about more than a high-velocity four-seam fastball.
Tigers:2,491 rpm:Justin Verlander had baseball's highest-spin four-seamer (among starters) last year, but it wasn't until he started using it more high in the zone that he rebounded to success. In his first seven starts, with a 5.56 ERA, he threw high four-seamers 15 percent of the time. In Verlander's final 13 starts, with a 2.36 ERA, he threw it high 24 percent of the time. High-spin fastballs, thrown high, tend to result in swinging strikes. That's exactly what he found.
Twins:16.7 percent: Miguel Sano's league-leading rate of "barrels," defined as "balls hit over 100 mph at a launch angle between 10 and 25 degrees," which is about the best thing a hitter can do (hitters averaged .595 on such balls). Sano strikes out a lot, but when he makes contact, no one hits the ball as perfectly, as often.
White Sox:97 mph: Avisail Garcia's average throwing arm on "competitive plays," the fourth best in baseball on throws defined as being at a fielder's 90th percentile capacity. In an otherwise disappointing season for the young outfielder, Garcia's excellent arm was at least a bright point.
Video: MIN@HOU: Gomez nabs Mauer with 103 mph throw
A's:3.85 seconds: The home-to-first runnning speed (on "competitive plays") of outfielder Billy Burns, the fastest mark in the game. The second- and third-fastest players were Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton. Burns isn't just "sort of fast," he's incredibly fast.
Angels:3,086 rpm: Garrett Richards' curveball spin, making it the single highest-spin pitch in the game. High-spin curves tend to drive themselves downward more then regular curves, and indeed, Richards had the second-most vertical curveball movement in the bigs -- and a massive 75 percent ground ball rate on the pitch.
Astros:94.6 mph: Houston's average outfield throwing velocity on "competitive throws," the best in baseball. Defined as being throws at or above a fielder's displayed 90th percentile performance, Jake Marisnick and Carlos Gomez finished first and second in the individual standings, giving the Astros baseball's best outfield arms.
Mariners:67 times: On balls hit at 100 mph or higher, Robinson Cano hit into an out 67 times, tied for the most in baseball. That points to more than a little bad luck -- as a whole, Major League Baseball hit .621 on balls above 100 mph, while Cano hit just .571. A huge part of his second-half turnaround was finding more success on those crushed balls.
Rangers:132 times: The number of times Delino DeShields reached 21 mph running the bases, easily the most in baseball. Only seven other players managed to reach that mark even 50 times, and it's that elite speed that has the Rangers hoping DeShields can use it to improve his outfield defense this year.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
: 1,148 rpm: The spin on Julio Teheran's slider, making it the lowest-spin slider from any starting pitcher, and hitters managed just a .200 average against it. The highest-spin slider was 2,486 rpm from Richards, our reigning king of spin, and he got 100 strikeouts on the pitch, going to show being extreme on spin can often be a good thing, regardless in which direction.
: 1.87 seconds: From Giancarlo Stanton's power to Gordon's speed to Marcell Ozuna's exit velocity to Carter Capps' perceived velocity, the Marlins have no shortage of Statcast™ stars, but let's not forget about catcher J.T Realmuto's pop time, the fastest time of any regular catcher in baseball.
: 29.7 percent: The best-in-baseball (using likely 2016 rosters) percentage of pitches that reached 95 mph, making the Mets baseball's foremost velocity kings. Could it be even higher this year? Remember, the Mets shipped Jonathon Niese (zero 95 mph pitches) to the Pirates, and they should at some point welcome back Zack Wheeler (1,093 pitches above 95 mph in 2014) back from injury.
: 98.1 mph: Ryan Zimmerman's post-injury batting exit velocity was elite, and far better than the 89.1 mph he was struggling through while attempting to play through a foot injury for the first three months. After taking a break in the middle of the year to rest the foot, he came back and had a 1.024 OPS, compared to the .611 mark he'd put up playing through pain.
: 12.2 percent: Maikel Franco's scorching spring was in part predicted by his 2015 Statcast™ data, since 12.2 percent is how often he hit a ball over 100 mph at a launch angle between 10 and 25 degrees, which is another way of saying "a hard-hit line drive." Only 11 players (minimum of 20 batted balls) did better, and the names were largely impressive: Sano, Trout, Cespedes and Stanton among them.
Video: Grichuk's power analyzed with Statcast™
: 98.1 mph: New Milwaukee first baseman Chris Carter may have only hit .199 with Houston last year, but from August 1 through the end of the season, his exit velocity of 98.1 mph was baseball's highest. With evidence that he changed his stance and his hitting approach, there's reason to believe that the Brewers may have gotten a steal with the power-hitting first baseman, even if he'll always have plenty of swing-and-miss in his game.
Cardinals:94.5 mph: "The guy drafted before Mike Trout" seems so long ago now, doesn't it? Randal Grichuk caught our eye early in the year as someone who was hitting the ball extremely hard, and that lasted all season long -- among hitters with 100 tracked batted balls, he was fifth out of 373. That's pretty heady company to be in for St. Louis' likely starting center fielder.
Cubs:85 mph:Jake Arrieta's overall average exit velocity, the best in baseball, proving that he does more than just miss bats (236 strikeouts in 229 innings last year), he ensures that nothing good happens when hitters do make contact. Is suppressing exit velocity a skill? Well, the two starters right behind him on the list are Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw. You may have heard of them.
Pirates:77 times:Arquimedes Caminero hit triple digits last year 77 times, the second most in baseball behind Chapman. With Chapman off to the Yankees, Caminero may become the National League's leading flamethrower.
Reds: 0.38 seconds: The "plate time" of reliever Jumbo Diaz , which means that from the time he released the ball to the time the pitch made it to home plate, it took barely more than a third of a second, which is a combination of above-average velocity and above-average extension. That's the third best in baseball behind Diaz's former teammate, Chapman, and injured Miami reliever Carter Capps.
Video: Statcast™ looks at Goldschmidt's stolen base advantage
D-backs:13.5 feet:Paul Goldschmidt's average lead distance. How did a slugging first baseman not known for his speed manage to steal 21 bases, the most by any first baseman since 2003? Because Goldschmidt wasn't running 90 feet from first to second -- his best-in-baseball lead distance of 13.5 feet cut that down to a more manageable 76.5 feet.
Dodgers:2,533 rpm:Yimi Garcia's four-seam fastball spin rate. Garcia's average velocity of 93.9 mph is good, but his spin rate is elite -- the best among any reliever, now that Rafael Betancourt has retired. It's how an unheralded rookie reliever struck out 68 in 56.2 innings, a better strikeout rate than Stephen Strasburg or Jose Fernandez.
Giants:2,332 rpm: Sergio Romo has long been known for his slider, and it's among baseball's most fascinating pitches. Among the 47 pitchers who threw at least 500 sliders last year, Romo's was the slowest (77.9 mph), but it had the second-highest spin behind only -- who else -- Garrett Richards. That goes to show that spin and velocity are not necessary correlated, and that low-speed/high-spin combination is one hitters rarely see. That they hit just .191 against Romo's slider last year goes to show how effective it remains.
Padres:85.4 mph: Christian Bethancourt's average throwing speed to second base, the best among 40 catchers who had at least 10 tracked throws. Even from a crouch, the young catcher's arm outshines some actual big league pitchers.
Rockies:95 and 94 percent: New Rockies relievers Jason Motte (95 percent) and Jake McGee (94 percent) throw their fastballs more often than any other pitchers, which doesn't seem to be a coincidence. In the never-ending battle to overcome Coors Field, the Rockies look to have prioritized pitchers who don't depend on breaking pitches.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs.