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5 Statcast storylines for '17 Marlins

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 five Statcast™ facts to know about the Marlins heading into the 2017 season.
1. Rocketman
In the Statcast™ Era (2015-16), nobody has hit the ball quite like Giancarlo Stanton. During that time, the Marlins slugger has posted an average exit velocity of 96.5 mph, which ranks first in the Majors among players with at least 400 balls in play by a wide margin over Nelson Cruz (94.9 mph) and Jose Cabrera (94.5 mph). Stanton stands out even more in terms of generating the hardest of hard-hit balls. His 42 individual exit velocities of 115 mph or more are nearly four times any other player's total.
Most balls in play at 115+ mph, Statcast™ Era

  1. Giancarlo Stanton: 42
  2. Carlos Gonzalez: 11
  3. Mark Trumbo: 8
  4. Avisail Garcia:5
    5-T. Nelson Cruz: 4
    5-T. Pedro Alvarez: 4
    2. King of the big fly
    Out of 151 batters who have had at least 25 tracked home runs in the Statcast™ era, Stanton's average projected distance of 423 feet is the longest. Stanton has smacked seven homers that were projected for at least 470 feet during that time, five more than any other player.
    Stanton's longest home runs of the Statcast™ Era
  5. 504 feet : 8/6/2016 at Rockies (Chad Bettis)
  6. 479 feet : 6/23/2015 vs. Cardinals (Carlos Martinez)
  7. 478 feet : 5/16/2015 vs. Dodgers (Alex Wood)
  8. 478 feet : 6/5/2015 at Rockies (Eddie Butler)
  9. 475 feet : 5/12/2015 at Dodgers (Mike Bolsinger)
  10. 475 feet : 5/6/2016 vs. Phillies (Hector Neris)
  11. 474 feet : 5/15/2015 vs. Braves (Cody Martin)
    3. Air it out
    Christian Yelich had more batted balls of at least 100 mph last season (155) than all but five players: Cabrera, Cruz, Robinson Cano, Manny Machado and Trumbo. He was especially adept at hard contact when hitting the ball in the air, as his average exit velocity of 96.8 mph on line drives and fly balls ranked eighth out of 161 players who had at least 150 such batted balls. Yelich, who slugged 1.216 on liners and fly balls, likely would benefit from getting the ball in the air more. In 2016, he raised his average launch angle from 0.7 degrees to 2.6 degrees, but that still was the second-lowest among players with at least 200 batted balls.

Highest average exit velocity on LD/FB in 2016 (minimum 150 LD/FB)

  1. Nelson Cruz: 99.2 mph
  2. Khris Davis: 98.0 mph
  3. Josh Donaldson: 97.8 mph
  4. David Ortiz: 97.3 mph
  5. Jose Cabrera: 97.1 mph
  6. Chris Carter: 97.1 mph
  7. Mark Trumbo: 96.9 mph
    8. Christian Yelich: 96.8 mph
  8. Chris Davis: 96.5 mph
  9. Kendrys Morales: 96.4 mph
    4. Pop star
    A catcher's pop time, which is how quickly he goes from receiving the pitch to delivering it to its target, is an important part of his ability to combat the running game. J.T. Realmuto, who threw out 35 percent of runners attempting to steal last year, rated quite well in that category. His average pop time of 1.92 seconds to second base was the second-fastest among 54 catchers who had at least 15 tracked times. Realmuto trailed only Martin Maldonado (1.91 seconds), in a category where every hundredth of a second matters.

Quickest average pop time to 2B in 2016 (minimum 15 tracked times)

  1. Martin Maldonado: 1.91
    2. J.T. Realmuto: 1.92
  2. Gary Sanchez: 1.92
  3. Welington Castillo: 1.93
  4. Salvador Perez: 1.94
    5. Speed demons
    Average maximum effort home-to-first time considers only non-bunt plays in which a runner recorded a time faster than his 90th percentile, thereby weeding out plays in which he wasn't operating at top speed. It's no surprise that Dee Gordon was second on that list in 2016, among all players with at least 75 tracked home-to-first times on non-bunts. More surprising was that not far behind Gordon was Ichiro Suzuki, who at 42 was 14 years Gordon's elder.
    Fastest average "max effort" home-to-1st time in 2016 (minimum 75 tracked non-bunt times)
  5. Billy Burns: 3.83 seconds
    2. Dee Gordon: 3.86 seconds
  6. Billy Hamilton: 3.89 seconds
  7. Kevin Kiermaier: 3.94 seconds
    5. Ichiro Suzuki: 3.94 seconds

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