New Exit Velocity Highs

Maximum Exit velocity is starting to get noticed more and more as the best single stat to measure a hitter’s raw power. While quite a bit has been written on it, the subject’s money quote is from Rob Arthur:

For every mile per hour above 108, a hitter is projected to gain about 6 points of OPS relative to their predicted number.

With several new Florida Spring Training ballparks getting publicly available Trackman, I sifted through all the games and found any players who set a new over 108 mph Exit Velocity high compared to the previous two seasons. Twenty-two players have seen improvement. Most of them had a limited number of plate appearances, so setting a new high should be expected. There are a few regulars who could see an improvement in 2021.

Alejandro Kirk
Combined PA: 25
2019 Max EV: NA
2020 Max EV: 107.4
Combined Max: 107.4
2021 Max EV: 110.3

Kirk has displayed power in the past and this jump is probably setting a baseline versus an actual power increase.

Ali Sánchez
Combined PA: 10
2019 Max EV: NA
2020 Max EV: 102.8
Combined Max: 102.8
2021 Max EV: 109.9

Sánchez has never been much of a power hitter, so even getting up to 110 mph provides some hope he’ll not be a completely useless bat.

Anthony Alford
Combined PA: 59
2019 Max EV: 107.0
2020 Max EV: 105.8
Combined Max: 107.0
2021 Max EV: 108.8

Fantasy managers used to dream on Alford’s minor league stolen base numbers, but his limited power and no plate discipline (career 4.5% BB% and 33% K%) kept him out of the majors. The extra power is interesting but he first needs to improve the strikeouts and walks. He is not improving so far in Spring Training with five strikeouts in 15 plate appearances.

Brendan Rodgers
Combined PA: 102
2019 Max EV: 111.1
2020 Max EV: 112.8
Combined Max: 112.8
2021 Max EV: 115.6

Rodgers trended up last season but has taken a major jump up this preseason. I wonder if he’s finally healthy and can live up to his prospect pedigree as the 2015 3rd overall pick.

Clint Frazier
Combined PA: 406
2019 Max EV: 109.2
2020 Max EV: 110.0
Combined Max: 110.0
2021 Max EV: 111.0

Like Rodgers, Frazier has never lived up to his prospect status (5th overall in 2013). Frazier has always shown 20 to 25 HR power so maybe the added boost will push him up a closer to 30.

Connor Joe
Combined PA: 16
2019 Max EV: 100.5
2020 Max EV: NA
Combined Max: 100.5
2021 Max EV: 108.5

Who?

Dylan Carlson
Combined PA: 119
2019 Max EV: NA
2020 Max EV: 108.3
Combined Max: 108.3
2021 Max EV: 109.0

I’d like to see a even little more power out of him. Of the 351 hitters with 50 balls-in-play last year, he was at #222, and going to just 109.0 mph has him at #188. As far as we know, he’s still in the bottom half of the league in power.

Eduardo Escobar
Combined PA: 921
2019 Max EV: 107.4
2020 Max EV: 106.7
Combined Max: 107.4
2021 Max EV: 108.5 and 108.7

Escobar’s 35 homers in 2019 may end up being his career-best. He struggled to get going last year as he dealt with COVID-19 right before the season started. It’s nice to see exit velocity up and he’s a nice late sleeper at third base.

Gavin Lux
Combined PA: 151
2019 Max EV: 109.8
2020 Max EV: 105.6
Combined Max: 109.8
2021 Max EV: 110.0

After seeing his max drop last season, at least he’s back up to his 2019 levels.

Greg Bird
Combined PA: 41
2019 Max EV: NA
2020 Max EV: 108.0
Combined Max: 108.0
2021 Max EV: 109.0

By the time you finish reading this sentence, he likely headed for season-ending surgery.

Josh Fuentes
Combined PA: 158
2019 Max EV: 103.2
2020 Max EV: 103.9
Combined Max: 109.9
2021 Max EV: 111.0

This is interesting to see since he’s been starting at third base and hitting in the lineup’s top half. He’s a nice late-round dart throw.

Josh Rojas
Combined PA: 227
2019 Max EV: 107.4
2020 Max EV: 104.2
Combined Max: 107.4
2021 Max EV: 109.9

Rojas has shown balanced minor league production, but he has not been able to transfer it to the majors (.567 OPS). He been on fire during spring training (1.086 OPS) while playing shortstop. He late sleeper for steals with 38 in 2018 and 33 in 2019 across all levels.

Justin Williams
Combined PA: 6
2019 Max EV: NA
2020 Max EV: 93.6
Combined Max: 93.6
2021 Max EV: 110.8

I should have just skipped him.

Keon Broxton
Combined PA: 228
2019 Max EV: 109.4
2020 Max EV: NA
Combined Max: 109.4
2021 Max EV: 110.1

Even with a small power boost, a career is 39% K% (32% in Spring Training) just destroys any chance he has of playing.

Manuel Margot
Combined PA: 600
2019 Max EV: 109.6
2020 Max EV: 108.2
Combined Max: 109.6
2021 Max EV: 111.4

This bump makes Margot a little more interesting to become more than just a part-time stolen base producer. It’d be nice to see his production creep near the .750 OPS level (.693 OPS on his career).

Raimel Tapia
Combined PA: 653
2019 Max EV: 107.1
2020 Max EV: 107.2
Combined Max: 107.2
2021 Max EV: 109.0

For a Colorado hitter with just a career .125 ISO, any power would be appreciated. Also, it makes him more than just a stolen base threat.

Ramón Urías
Combined PA: 27
2019 Max EV: NA
2020 Max EV: 106.7
Combined Max: 106.7
2021 Max EV: 109.6

Urias projects to be a fine MLB bat but historically provided almost no power or speed, so being in the 110 Max EV range makes him interesting if he can get a full-time role.

Ronald Guzmán
Combined PA: 381
2019 Max EV: 110.7
2020 Max EV: 110.8
Combined Max: 110.8
2021 Max EV: 113.4

Maybe now that he’s trying, he’s hitting the ball harder. Who knew?

Ryan Mountcastle
Combined PA: 140
2019 Max EV: NA
2020 Max EV: 108.2
Combined Max: 108.2
2021 Max EV: 109.2

The 24-year-old is adding some expected power.

Wil Myers
Combined PA: 708
2019 Max EV: 111.5
2020 Max EV: 109.2
Combined Max: 111.5
2021 Max EV: 112.4

Myers’s EV has been heading down the last few seasons. Maybe he put in some more offseason work to get back his 30 home run power of 2016 to 2017 back.

Zach Green
Combined PA: 16
2019 Max EV: 107.2
2020 Max EV: NA
Combined Max: 107.2
2021 Max EV: 110.5

And yet another one I should have skipped.





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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merkel
2 years ago

I hope the Jays free Alejandro Kirk.

cartermember
2 years ago
Reply to  merkel

Agreed. There isn’t a lot of precedent with body types like that, but one would venture that it is a body type that wouldn’t age well so they should get value asap.