Is Your Exit Velo Too Low?

Aaron Judge Hammering

With all the data continuously coming out of the MLB Statcast system, there are a lot of discussions about what’s useful and what’s not.  But no matter how you look at it, Exit Velo is king.  Don’t misunderstand me Launch Angle (and other metrics) are extremely relevant metrics.  However, Exit Velo reigns supreme.  Let me explain…

Here is a chart of year-to-date MLB Exit Velos vs. Batting Averages for 2017.  With R^2 correlation of .818 and rising batting averages with higher exit velos there is little argument about the correlation.  Power is a good thing.

EV Chart 1

Source: Baseball Savant

Here is a similar chart with Exit Velo and wOBA (Weighted On-base Average, wOBA is similar to OBA but the calculation attaches a higher weight to 2B, 3B and HRs vs. 1B).

EV Chart 2

Source: Baseball Savant

Several years ago when exit velocity was first getting measured many in the baseball world were discounting the true value of the information.  Statcast now provides the data on every batted ball, and with an R^2 of 0.825 between Exit Speed and wOBA there is really little to disagree on.  The harder you hit the better off you are.

However, it gets a little more interesting when you look at Exit Velo and wOBA and Launch Angles all at the same time.

IMG_2155 (1)

Source: Baseball Savant

In the chart above, the blue line represents Exit Velos above 95 mph and red Line is less than 95 mph.  As you can see with Launch Angles up into the mid-teens, both Exit Velo lines above have positive outcomes with rising wOBA figures.  But the outcomes diverge beyond mid-teens.  Exit Velos 95 mph or greater (blue line) continue to generate positive results.  Whereas, Exit Velos 95 mph and below (red line) begin to reflect declining wOBA figures.

Basically, to summarize, if you want to elevate the ball make sure you barrel it up and hit it hard, real hard.  In all likelihood, the answer to the question “is your exit velo too low?” is probably  a resounding “Yes”.  Everyone can benefit from more Exit Velo.

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)

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