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5 Statcast storylines for '17 Mets

March 31, 2017

As the 2017 season begins, so does the third season of Statcast™, the state-of-the-art technology that has tracked every play in every Major League ballpark since Opening Day 2015. And with two full seasons of data now collected, plus advances in applying that data, Statcast™ is better than ever. New

As the 2017 season begins, so does the third season of Statcast™, the state-of-the-art technology that has tracked every play in every Major League ballpark since Opening Day 2015. And with two full seasons of data now collected, plus advances in applying that data, Statcast™ is better than ever. New metrics, such as Catch Probability and Hit Probability, will provide a deeper layer of analysis and further our understanding of the game.
With that in mind, here are 10 Statcast™ facts to know about the Mets heading into the 2017 season.
1. Thor's might
When it comes to throwing hard, only a handful of relievers can challenge Noah Syndergaard. Among starters in 2016, he led the way in average velocity with three different pitches -- his four-seam fastball, sinker and slider.
Highest average four-seam fastball velocity (among SP)
Pitched majority of games as starter
Minimum 100 thrown

1. Syndergaard: 98.2 mph

  1. Nathan Eovaldi : 97.8 mph
  2. Carlos Martinez:. 96.8 mph
    Highest average two-seamer/sinker velocity (among SP)
    Minimum 100 thrown
    1. Syndergaard: 98.1 mph
  3. Yordano Ventura: 96.8 mph
  4. Garrett Richards: 95.8 mph
    Highest average slider velocity (among SP)
    Minimum 100 thrown
  5. Syndergaard: 91.0 mph
  6. Stephen Strasburg: 89.8 mph
  7. Corey Kluber: 89.7 mph

2. The big hook
Over only 64 innings in his debut season, Seth Lugo established himself as the gold standard of curveball spin rate. His average of 3,318 rpm on 149 tracked curves was easily the best in MLB during the Statcast™ Era (2015-16). Over that time, Lugo also is responsible for a whopping 36 of the top 50 individual curveball spin rates, including a record 3,498 rpm to whiff the Marlins' Xavier Scruggs on Aug. 30.
Highest average curveball spin rate, Statcast™ Era
Minimum 100 thrown
1. Lugo: 3,318 rpm

  1. Richards: 3,100 rpm
  2. Jesse Hahn: 3,000 rpm
  3. Charlie Morton: 2,970 rpm
  4. Scott Oberg: 2,953 rpm
    Why does spin rate matter for curves? While high spin doesn't guarantee success, the numbers clearly show that it helps:
    2016 MLB curveball averages
    3000+ rpm:
    .174 BA, .254 SLG, 37.9 whiff/swing%
    2400-2999: .203 BA, .316 SLG, 31.7 whiff/swing%
    1800-2399: .230 BA, .369 SLG, 11.6 whiff/swing%
    3. That sinking feeling
    Jeurys Familia threw his sinker about 63 percent of the time in 2016, and it averaged 96.4 mph. It was highly effective, both at inducing whiffs and limiting damage when contact was made. Opponents slugged only .301 on at-bats ending in sinkers.
    Highest rate of swings missed on two-seamers/sinkers, 2016
    Minimum 200 swings taken (114 pitchers)
  5. Zach Britton: 36.5 percent
    2. Familia: 27.5 percent
  6. Jake Odorizzi: 22.1 percent
  7. Michael Tonkin: 21.6 percent
  8. Steven Matz: 21.1 percent
    4. Hitting it hard
    In his first full season with the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes averaged an exit velocity of 92.7 mph. That ranked 10th among all hitters who put at least 300 balls in play, and fifth out of 93 right-handed batters.
    Highest average exit velocity for RH batters, 2016
    Out of 83 RHB with at least 300 batted balls in play
  9. Nelson Cruz: 95.9 mph
  10. Jose Cabrera: 94.5 mph
  11. Mark Trumbo: 93.9 mph
  12. Josh Donaldson: 93.1 mph
    5. Cespedes: 92.7 mph
    4. Barrel it up
    Injury-plagued David Wright only had 74 batted balls tracked by Statcast™ in 2016. However, he turned 20.3 percent of those into barrels (batted balls whose combination of exit velocity and launch angle give them a minimum .500 expected batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage). That rate was the highest of all players with at least 50 balls in play.
    Highest rate of barrels hit per batted ball, 2016
    Minimum 50 balls in play
    1. Wright: 20.3 percent
  13. Gary Sanchez: 18.8 percent
  14. ByungHo Park:18.7 percent
  15. Khris Davis: 18.6 percent
  16. Cruz: 17.8 percent

5. Ballhawk
In 2016, Juan Lagares didn't get many defensive opportunities, as he started only 31 games. However, his ability with the glove was reflected in Statcast™'s new metric, Catch Probability, which shows the likelihood that a particular outfielder will make a particular catch. This is based on two factors: opportunity time (measured from the pitcher's release to when the ball is projected to land) and distance needed (how far the outfielder needed to travel from his starting point to the ball's landing spot -- not how long he actually did travel). Each play is rated between 1 and 5 stars based on its difficulty, like so:
5 stars: play is made 0-25 percent of the time
4 stars: 26-50 percent
3 stars: 51-75 percent
2 stars: 76-90 percent
1 stars: 91-95 percent
Lagares, who was 2-for-10 making 5-star catches, was perfect on the rest of his opportunities.
Highest rate of 1-to-4 star plays made, 2016
Minimum 25 opportunities
1. Juan Lagares ………..... 100 percent (30-for-30)

  1. Keon Broxton ……….. 91.5 percent (43-for-47)
  2. Kristopher Bryant ………….. 91.4 percent (32-for-35)
  3. Jason Heyward ……... 91.2 percent (83-for-91)
  4. Desmond Jennings …. 91.1 percent (41-for-45)

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.