The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game is often the most interesting part of All-Star weekend, and not just because we get to see the best talent in the Minor Leagues all in one spot. It's because for many of these players, it's the first time we get them in front of
The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game is often the most interesting part of All-Star weekend, and not just because we get to see the best talent in the Minor Leagues all in one spot. It's because for many of these players, it's the first time we get them in front of the Statcast™ tracking cameras, and therefore the first time we can see if the data matches the prodigious scouting reports.
For a handful of the future stars we saw on Sunday, when Team USA took a 10-6 victory over the World Team, the answer is yes -- in some cases loudly so.
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Peter Alonso has the kind of power you can't fake
Alonso, the Mets' No. 2 prospect, tore up Double-A this year (.314/.440/.573) before a recent promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, and his calling card has always been clear: massive raw power. After a groundout in the fifth inning on Sunday, Alonso stepped up against Adonis Medina in the seventh and crushed a home run that wasn't just spectacular looking, it was unlike nearly any homer that Statcast™ has tracked since 2015.
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First of all, it was crushed, at 113.6 mph, and we need to give you a little context on that. There have been more than 74,000 batted balls this year, and only 0.4 percent of them were hit that hard. Only 11 players have hit one that hard more than five times all year; Alonso did it once in two plate appearances.
But it was also high, something of a moonshot. With 46 degrees of launch angle, it would have been tied for the second-highest homer of the year. The thing is, balls hit that high aren't usually hit that hard. In the three-plus years of Statcast™ tracking, there has never been a home run hit harder than 110 mph and higher than 45 degrees. It's the kind of thing you just don't see, really. Alonso came to Washington with a reputation for elite power, and he more than showed it.
When Team USA manager Torii Hunter watched Alonso win his nine-pitch battle against Medina with his towering home run, he immediately thought of a slugger from his own playing days.
"That's unbelievable power; I saw Mark McGwire hit like that," Hunter said. "You rarely see guys in the Minor Leagues hit a ball like that; so high and so far. Great at-bat, runner in scoring position, and he wanted to get that hit. He dug deep and battled, fought off some tough pitches until he got the fastball he wanted."
Informed of Hunter's comparison, Alonso's eyes widened.
"That's really cool," Alonso said. "I try to emulate my game after Paul Konerko and Paul Goldschmidt. Mark McGwire? That's huge. I watched him when I was younger, and that's such a huge compliment."
Hunter Greene has game-changing velocity
A year ago, Greene was playing high school ball in California. Then he became the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, and now he's showing why. Greene threw 19 fastballs on Sunday, and every single one touched triple digits. He averaged 101.3 mph, topping out at 103.1. Six pitches were measured at 102 mph or more.
The pitch tracking era goes all the way back to 2008, and only 10 pitchers since then have touched 102 mph six times or more. Remember, we're talking about entire careers in some cases, over more than decade. Greene just did it in two innings, like it was nothing. He won't turn 19 until August, and he's already throwing heat like he's Albertin Chapman or Jordan Hicks.
Luis Alexander Basabe can handle the heat -- and so can Fernando Tatis Jr.
Of course, Greene didn't throw perfect innings. White Sox prospect Luis Basabe turned around one of Greene's fastballs, a 102.3-mph heater, and hit it an estimated 404 feet for a homer. The ball actually went out faster than it went in, since Basabe's dinger had an exit velocity of 104.1 mph.
Here's what that means to you: If this had happened during the regular season, it would have been the fastest pitch hit for a home run since Rafael Devers turned around Chapman's 102.8-mph fastball last season. It would have been the fastest pitch hit for any kind of hit all year; Kristopher Bryant's double off a 101.9-mph heater from Hicks currently stands atop that list.
In the three-plus years of Statcast™, there have only been 17 hits off pitches that came in at 102 mph or faster. It's objectively impressive that Greene can throw that kind of heat, but let's not forget how difficult it is to turn it around, either.
Speaking of turning around heat, Tatis hit a 107-mph single off an identical 102.3-mph offering from Greene immediately after Basabe's long ball.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.