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Statcast spotlight: 5 players to watch

MLB.com

Using revolutionary Statcast™ data, here are five players to keep an eye on this weekend. Watch it all on MLB.TV.

Madison Bumgarner , Giants
Bumgarner is always worth watching on the mound, but all eyes will be on him when he steps to the plate today against the Padres. A .234/.284/.459 hitter since the beginning of 2014, Bumgarner enjoyed his most impressive game in the batter's box in his season-opening start last Sunday at Arizona. The right-handed batter crushed the 15th and 16th home runs of his career -- both at upwards of 112 mph to set a new record for exit velocity by a pitcher in the Statcast™ Era. It's a list Bumgarner dominates.

Using revolutionary Statcast™ data, here are five players to keep an eye on this weekend. Watch it all on MLB.TV.

Madison Bumgarner , Giants
Bumgarner is always worth watching on the mound, but all eyes will be on him when he steps to the plate today against the Padres. A .234/.284/.459 hitter since the beginning of 2014, Bumgarner enjoyed his most impressive game in the batter's box in his season-opening start last Sunday at Arizona. The right-handed batter crushed the 15th and 16th home runs of his career -- both at upwards of 112 mph to set a new record for exit velocity by a pitcher in the Statcast™ Era. It's a list Bumgarner dominates.

Hardest-hit batted balls by pitchers since 2015
1. Bumgarner: 112.5 mph, 4/2/17 (home run)
2. Bumgarner: 112.1 mph, 4/2/17 (home run)
3. Bumgarner: 111.0 mph, 8/21/15 (home run)
4. Bumgarner: 110.7 mph, 8/27/15 (lineout)

5. Syndergaard: 110.3 mph, 4/3/17 (single)

• Statcast™ glossary

Noah Syndergaard, Mets
Only a handful of relievers can challenge Syndergaard for pure heat. Among starters in 2016, he led the way in average velocity with three pitches -- his four-seam fastball (98.2 mph), sinker (98.1 mph) and slider (91.0 mph). One thing Statcast™ has taught us, though, is that the old "fast-in, fast-out" adage does not hold true. Take Syndergaard: despite throwing that serious heat, he has an average exit velocity allowed of only 87.1 mph in the Statcast™ Era. That is the fourth-lowest mark for any right-handed pitcher with at least 500 batted balls in that span.

Lowest average exit velocity allowed for right-hander since 2015 (minimum 500 at-bats against)
1. Jake Arrieta: 86.1 mph
2. Collin McHugh: 86.7 mph
3. Adam Wainwright: 87.0 mph
4. Syndergaard: 87.1 mph
5. Tanner Roark: 87.3 mph

Video: NL WC: Syndergaard's perceived velocity in 2016

Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox
In Friday's 6-5 loss to Detroit, Sandoval hit his first home run since Aug. 15, 2015, and just his 11th since signing with the Red Sox ahead of the '15 season. With an exit velocity of 104.9 mph and a launch angle of 29 degrees, Sandoval's go-ahead three-run big fly to the opposite field in the eighth inning was his second-longest batted ball of the Statcast™ Era.

Sandoval's longest batted balls since 2015
1. 430 feet -- home run; Aug. 4, 2015
2. 413 feet -- home run; April 7, 2017
3. 412 feet -- double; Aug. 19, 2015
4. 410 feet -- home run; Aug. 15, 2015
5. 406 feet -- double; June 19, 2015

Video: BOS@DET: Sandoval gives Sox lead with three-run homer

Gary Sanchez, Yankees
New York's star catcher was at it again on Friday night at Baltimore, blasting a huge two-run homer to left field that was projected for 426 feet -- tied for the third-longest homer of his young career. It left the bat at a blazing 112.2 mph, which is his best on a big fly. It also slots in as the fifth-hardest Yankees homer of the Statcast™ Era, with Sanchez now accounting for three of the top seven, all since last Sept. 18.

Hardest homers by Yankees since 2015
1. Alex Rodriguez: 116.5 mph, 5/1/15
2. Aaron Judge: 115.2 mph, 9/12/16
3. Rodriguez: 112.8 mph, 7/25/15
4. Rodriguez: 112.3 mph, 4/9/16
5. Sanchez: 112.2 mph, 4/7/17
6. Sanchez: 111.5 mph, 9/18/16
7. Sanchez: 111.4 mph, 9/21/16

8. Rodriguez: 111.1 mph, 4/15/15
9. Rodriguez: 110.8 mph, 4/17/15
10. Greg Bird: 110.7 mph, 9/15/15

Video: NYY@BAL: Sanchez belts first homer of 2017 at 112 mph

Kyle Hendricks , Cubs
Hendricks stunned just about everyone by leading the Majors with a 2.13 ERA last season. Certainly, the Cubs' fantastic defense helped a pitcher without overwhelming strikeout stuff. But it also appears that Hendricks earned his success by mastering the art of weak contact. The righty tied for the fourth-lowest rate of Barrels allowed per batted ball (2.1 percent) among pitchers with 300 batted balls. Also, his opponents' OPS of .581 was barely lower than his .595 estimated OPS -- a metric based on Hit Probability, which uses exit velocities and launch angles to project batted-ball outcomes.

Lowest estimated OPS for qualified starters in 2016
1. Syndergaard: .592 (actual OPS -- .639)
2. Hendricks: .595 (actual OPS -- .581)
3. Max Scherzer: .604 (actual OPS -- .619)
4. Jose Fernandez: .612 (actual OPS -- .624)
5. Jon Lester: .630 (actual OPS -- .602)

Madison Bumgarner, Kyle Hendricks, Gary Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval, Noah Syndergaard