Arthur: Exit velocity is higher than ever

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on April 12, 2019:

Last week, I wrote about how a more aerodynamic baseball may be contributing to a spike in home runs this April. Since then, the onslaught of moon shots has become even more pronounced, with a higher rate of home runs per fly ball than any other year on record.

It turns out that a rabbit ball may be only part of the story, however. On top of a more aerodynamic baseball, league-wide exit velocity is reaching new heights. Unlike the changes to the ball, it’s harder to tell why.

Tracked by MLB’s radar system Statcast, exit velocity measurements have rapidly become indispensable for modern baseball analysis. Speed off the bat is one of the most important metrics to assessing the quality of a hitter and the probability that any given batted ball will be valuable. We have only a few years of complete data on this metric, but what we do have shows that across the league, average speed off the bat is spiking.

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Originally published: April 12, 2019. Last Updated: April 12, 2019.