Giles, Bryant Top AFL TrackMan Leaderboards

TrackMan baseball analyst Josh Orenstein estimates that the company captured about 43 percent of Arizona Fall League action this year with its camera systems at the Glendale and Surprise ballparks—and that sample includes the AFL championship game and the league’s all-star game.

TrackMan uses 3-D radar tracking systems to quantify 27 different measurements, including velocity, spin, and release distance for pitchers and exit velocity, launch angle and trajectory for batted balls. AFL leaderboards for eight categories are below. Thanks to Orenstein and the TrackMan team.

Phillies righthander Kenny Giles, who had the AFL’s top average fastball velocity at 101 mph, and Rangers righty Keone Kela, who had the second best at 98.6 mph, were the only two pitchers to top 100 mph. Giants righthander Kyle Crick (99.2) and Twins righty Alex Meyer (98.6) were the only starters among the top 10 in peak velocity.

 

Fastball Velocity
Rank Org Pitcher Top MPH Avg MPH
1 PHI Giles, Kenny 101.0 97.5
2 TEX Kela, Keone 100.7 98.2
3 ATL Jaime, Juan 99.7 98.6
4 SEA Leone, Dominic 99.4 95.4
5 SF Crick, Kyle 99.2 95.7
6 MIN Meyer, Alex 98.6 96.5
7 TOR Stilson, John 98.4 94.8
8 NYM Familia, Jeurys 98.2 96.0
9 KC Baez, Angel 98.2 94.4
10 CLE Haley, Trey 97.9 96.5
11 MIL Goforth, David 97.8 95.9
12 CHC Rivero, Armando 97.8 96.1
13 ARI Stites, Matt 97.4 96.2
14 ARI Schultz, Bo 97.3 94.4
15 DET Knebel, Corey 97.2 96.0
16 LAA Bedrosian, Cam 97.1 93.8
17 SEA Maurer, Brandon 96.9 93.7
18 TOR Sanchez, Aaron 96.9 95.1
19 ATL Simmons, Shae 96.7 95.0
20 SF Law, Derek 96.7 94.1

 

High-spin fastballs sink less and in turn tend to get more swinging strikes and flyouts. Low-spin fastballs sink more and get more ground balls. Most sinkerballers throw low-spin fastballs. The most extreme example of a low-spin fastball in the AFL was Royals lefthander Noel Arguelles at 91 mph and 1,928 rpm. On the flip side, Brewers righty Taylor Jungmann’s 91 mph fastball had an average spin rate of 2,400 rpm.  Therefore, it is reasonable to expect Arguelles’ fastball to generate more groundballs, while Jungmann’s would produce more whiffs and flyouts.

A moderate correlation between fastball speed and spin exists. At the major league level from 2010-2012, high-spin fastballs had a swinging strike rate of 9 percent, versus 6 percent for low-spin fastballs. Low-spin fastballs produced a groundout/flyout ratio of 1.70, while high-spin fastballs had a 1.00 ratio.

 

Fastball Spin Rate
Rank Org Pitcher Avg MPH Avg RPM
1 KC Adam, Jason 93 2,611
2 SD Portillo, Adys 93 2,578
3 SF Mejia, Adalberto 94 2,575
4 PHI Giles, Kenny 98 2,553
5 KC Culver, Malcom 94 2,533
6 TEX West, Matt 94 2,507
7 CLE Armstrong, Shawn 93 2,507
8 LAD Garcia, Yimi 93 2,504
9 SF Crick, Kyle 96 2,499
10 CIN Lorenzen, Michael 95 2,483
11 TEX Kela, Keone 98 2,470
12 NYM Robles, Hansel 91 2,465
13 SEA Leone, Dominic 95 2,463
14 KC Baez, Angel 94 2,457
15 TOR Hutchison, Drew 92 2,453

 

Breaking ball spin rate is critical because it correlates with movement and break, as well as deception. The more a breaking ball rotates, the harder it is for a hitter to see the seams of the baseball, which makes the pitch look more like a fastball. Data collected at the major league level shows that higher spin rates produce higher whiff rates. The average major league spin rate is around 2,400 RPMs. From 2010-2012, curveballs with a “very high” spin rate (greater than 2,700 rpm) had a swinging-strike rate of 13 percent, while very low (less than 2,100 rpm) had a swinging-strike rate of 7 percent. Please note that RPMs are not the sole indicator of a breaking ball’s quality, which is also dependent upon launch angle of the pitch and proper tilt, among other things.

 

Curveball Spin Rate
Rank Org Pitcher Avg MPH Avg RPM
1 SEA Maurer, Brandon 75 3,142
2 BAL Gurka, Jason 75 3,016
3 TOR Sanchez, Aaron 81 2,912
4 NYY Nuno, Vidal 75 2,793
5 MIN Meyer, Alex 85 2,697
6 KC Baez, Angel 79 2,624
7 HOU Robinson, Andrew 75 2,605
8 ARI Garcia, Henry 76 2,580
9 MIA Wittgren, Nick 79 2,579
10 SD Barbato, Johnny 77 2,544
11 BOS Ruiz, Pete 80 2,533
12 KC Adam, Jason 78 2,491
13 TEX Bonilla, Lisalverto 82 2,453
14 BOS Ramirez, Noe 81 2,451
15 STL Kiekhefer, Dean 77 2,444

 

Slider spin rate follows the same principles as curveball spin rate, which is detailed above.

 

Slider Spin Rate
Rank Org Pitcher Avg MPH Avg RPM
1 HOU Dufek, Jonas 81 2,997
2 ATL Simmons, Shae 84 2,819
3 SEA Smith, Carson 85 2,801
4 CLE Armstrong, Shawn 86 2,779
5 KC Culver, Malcom 85 2,770
6 COL Houston, Dan 81 2,766
7 MIN Meyer, Alex 85 2,714
8 LAA Bedrosian, Came 84 2,696
9 TOR Stroman, Marcus 85 2,689
10 LAD Garcia, Yimi 82 2,688
11 NYM Bradford, Chasen 85 2,687
12 SF Crick, Kyle 87 2,683
13 CIN Lorenzen, Michael 82 2,648
14 CLE Haley, Trey 81 2,638
15 BOS Ruiz, Pete 81 2,624

 

Fastball extension measures how far from the pitching rubber the pitcher releases the ball. The average major league extension is 6 feet, 1 inch. The column on the far right is each pitcher’s effective velocity, which is higher than their average velocity because of their greater extension. Greater fastball extension correlates positively with swinging-strike rate and strikeout rate. From 2010-2012, fastball extensions of 5 feet, 6 inches and below struck out 6.3 hitter per nine innings, while extensions of 6 feet, 6 inches and greater were 17 percent better at 7.4.

 

Fastball Extension
Org Pitcher Avg MPH Avg Extension (Feet) Effective MPH
LAA Roth, Michael 85.7 7’5 87.9
KC Adam, Jason 93.1 7’2 95.0
MIL Cravy, Tyler 91.9 7’1 93.6
MIN Jones, Zach 93.6 7’1 95.3
CLE Armstrong, Shawn 92.6 6’11 94.1
BAL Kline, Branden 91.4 6’11 92.8
CLE Johnson, Jeff 90.0 6’11 91.3
CIN Hayes, Drew 93.0 6’10 94.3
CLE Roberts, Will 90.9 6’10 92.1
LAD Thomas, Michael 89.1 6’10 90.3

 

Exit speed off the bat correlates positively with isolated power and batting average on contact. Players with top exit speeds tend to be batters associated with having raw power. From 2010-2013, exit velocities less than 80 mph (on the low end of the velocity scale) had a batting average on contact of .242. The top-of-scale velocities exceeding 110 mph had a batting average on contact of .751.

 

Exit Velocity
Rank Date Org Batter Pitch Type Play Result MPH
1 Oct. 11 WAS Souza, Steven Changeup Double 115.0
2 Oct. 30 BOS Shaw, Travis Fastball Double 114.8
3 Nov. 14 LAA Cron, C.J. Foul Foul 113.0
4 Nov. 9 SF Villalona, Angel Foul Foul 112.2
5 Nov. 2 WAS Goodwin, Brian Fastball Single 111.9
6 Oct. 24 MIN Kepler, Max Fastball Single 111.1
7 Nov. 12 MIL Haniger, Mitch Fastball Foul 110.8
8 Oct. 24 CWS Mitchell, Jared Fastball Single 110.8
9 Nov. 1 SF Villalona, Angel Fastball Single 110.6
10 Oct. 24 CWS Mitchell, Jared Fastball Home Run 110.3
11 Nov. 6 PHI Rupp, Cameron Fastball Double 110.2
12 Nov. 8 HOU Amador, Japhet Slider Out 110.0
13 Nov. 13 SEA Romero, Stefen Fastball Home Run 110.0
14 Oct. 29 SF Parker, Jarrett Changeup Single 109.7
15 Oct. 29 KC Calixte, Orlando Sinker Foul 109.5
16 Oct. 30 TB Brett, Ryan Fastball Double 109.5
17 Oct. 9 BOS Shaw, Travis Fastball Single 109.5
18 Oct. 10 NYY Austin, Tyler Fastball Foul 109.4
19 Oct. 23 BOS Shaw, Travis Fastball Double 109.4
20 Oct. 25 TOR Wilson, Kenneth Fastball Double 109.4
21 Oct. 11 CHC Bryant, Kris Fastball Home Run 109.4
22 Nov. 11 MIN Kepler, Max Foul Foul 109.3
23 Nov. 4 ATL Kubitza, Kyle Fastball Home Run 109.2
24 Oct. 30 TEX Rua, Ryan Fastball Home Run 109.2
25 Oct. 29 NYY O’Brien, Peter Cutter Home Run 109.1

 

TrackMan also tracks batted ball distance and exit speed.

 

Batted Ball Distance
Rank Date Org Hitter Distance Exit Speed Play Result
1 Oct. 29 NYY O’Brien, Peter 455 109 Home Run
2 Oct. 28 CIN Rodriguez, Yorman 438 104 Home Run
3 Oct. 26 COL Garneau, Dustin 436 102 Home Run
4 Nov. 5 BOS Shaw, Travis 433 108 Home Run
5 Oct. 29 CWS Mitchell, Jared 433 103 Home Run
6 Nov. 12 TEX Rua, Ryan 432 108 Home Run
7 Oct. 9 BAL Ohlman, Michael 432 105 Home Run
8 Nov. 2 BOS Cecchini, Garin 430 104 Home Run
9 Oct. 17 NYY O’Brien, Peter 429 106 Home Run
10 Oct. 11 CHC Bryant, Kris 427 109 Home Run
11 Oct. 28 TEX Rua, Ryan 427 107 Home Run
12 Oct. 30 TEX Rua, Ryan 426 109 Home Run
13 Nov. 9 LAD Cavazos-Galvez, Brian 425 108 Home Run
14 Nov. 4 ATL Kubitza, Kyle 424 109 Home Run
15 Oct. 28 CWS Semien, Marcus 421 104 Home Run

 

Exit velocity and batted ball angle determine flight trajectory. Years worth of TrackMan data at the major league level show that 93 percent of batted balls hit fair 105-100 mph at a launch angle of 25-35 degrees become home runs. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who had a strong AFL showing with a .364/457/.727 line and six home runs in 92 plate appearances, and Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw are the only players who appear twice in the top 10.

 

Power Contact
Rank Hitter MPH off bat Vertical angle (deg) Play Result
1 Romero, Stefen 110 32 Home Run
2 Bryant, Kris 109 30 Home Run
3 Austin, Tyler 109 35 Foul
4 Shaw, Travis 108 28 Home Run
5 Cavazos-Galvez, Brian 108 27 Home Run
6 Wheeler, Tim 107 28 Home Run
7 Schoop, Jonathan 108 27 Foul
8 Bryant, Kris 107 37 Out
9 Jacobs, Brandon 106 29 Out
10 Shaw, Travis 106 34 Home Run
11 Ohlman, Michael 105 35 Home Run
12 Piscotty, Stephen 105 27 Home Run
13 Semien, Marcus 106 26 Home Run
14 Cron, C.J. 104 29 Home Run
15 Garneau, Dustin 109 24 Foul
16 Urrutia, Henry 104 28 Home Run
17 Parker, Kyle 104 31 Home Run
18 Mattair, Travis 104 30 Out
19 Rodriguez, Yorman 104 29 Home Run
20 Amador, Japhet 104 32 Home Run