Using Statcast, Pitching Data To Analyze 2018 Futures Game

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An Analytical View Of 2018 Futures Game

PeterAlonso_BuddyReed_AlexTrautwigGetty.jpg
Peter Alonso and Buddy Reed (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

An analytical look at prospect performance in the Futures Game. All pitch data tracked by MLB Gameday. All batted ball data tracked by MLB Statcast.

PITCHERS

Fastballs are the name of the game in the Futures Game—or any all-star exhibition. Every pitcher wants to show off his best fastball, and few pitchers wants to risk hanging a breaking ball or changeup. Note that these aren’t “true” starter velocities because no Futures Gamer worked as a starter. Nobody threw more than 31 pitches.

Highest Average Fastball Velocity
Measured in mph

  1. Hunter Greene, Reds, 101.3
  2. Dylan Cease, White Sox, 97.9
  3. Jorge Guzman(^), Marlins, 97.1
  4. Kyle Wright, Braves, 96.2
  5. (tie) Mitch Keller, Pirates, 95.7
  6. (tie) C.D. Pellham, Rangers, 95.7
  7. Dakota Hudson, Cardinals, 95.6
  8. Luis Ortiz, Brewers, 95.4 (one pitch)
  9. Kieran Lovegrove, Indians, 95.2
  10. (tie) Bryan Mata, Red Sox, 95.0
  11. (tie) Jesus Tinoco, Rockies, 95.0

 Hunter Greene threw the 19 fastest pitches at the Futures Game and averaged triple digits. (The Marlins’ Jorge Guzman(^) occupies the No. 20 spot at 99.7 mph.) Greene’s fastball generated four swinging strikes, but also a booming home run by Luis Basabe on a 102.3 mph heater.

• Jesus Tinoco generated four swinging strikes with his fastball and showed a nice slider in his scoreless inning.

 Dakota Hudson missed bats with his fastball and slider during his scoreless inning, certainly more than his Triple-A strikeout rate would suggest.

Highest Swinging-Strike Rates
Percentage of total pitches

  1. Jesus Tinoco, Rockies, 38.5
  2. Dakota Hudson, Cardinals, 27.3
  3. Shaun Anderson, Giants, 21.4
  4. (tie) Kyle Wright, Braves, 20.0
  5. (tie) Jorge Guzman, Marlins, 20.0
  6. Adonis Medina, Phillies, 16.0
  7. Hunter Greene, Reds, 14.8
  8. Mitch Keller, Pirates, 14.3
  9. Jesus Luzardo, Athletics, 13.8
  10. C.D. Pellham, Rangers, 12.5  

• Kyle Wright came out of the bullpen firing mid-90s heat and a sharp slider. He helped extinguish a late World rally by missing bats and inducing a clutch double play to end the eighth inning.

Highest Rate Of Secondary Pitches
Curveballs, Sliders and Changeups as % of total pitches

  1. Adonis Medina, Phillies, 48.0 (CB: 80.8)
  2. Shaun Anderson, Giants, 42.9 (SL: 88 CHG: 85.4)
  3. Matt Manning, Tigers, 42.3 (CB: 77.9)
  4. Jesus Luzardo, Athletics, 41.4 (SL: 83 CHG: 85)
  5. Kyle Wright, Braves, 40.0 (SL: 83)
  6. Jesus Tinoco, Rockies, 38.5 (SL: 86.1)
  7. Alex Wells, Orioles, 37.5 (CHG: 85.5)
  8. Dakota Hudson, Cardinals, 36.4 (SL: 89)
  9. Bryan Mata, Red Sox, 32.5 (CB: 76.9 CHG: 86.6)
  10. Hunter Greene, Reds, 29.6 (CB: 82.5 SL: 83.6)

• Matt Manning got one swing and miss with his curveball and landed four other curves for strikes, showing good command of his breaking pitch for a 20-year-old pitcher. He averaged 93.8 mph on his fastball in the game.

• Jesus Luzardo got most of his swinging strikes with a fastball that averaged 94.6 mph, but he mixed in an effective slider and changeup. He started two of his eight batters with secondary pitches.

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BATTERS

The talented young hitters in the Futures Game don’t have a history with many of the opposing pitchers in the game, but they do know one thing: expect to see plenty of fastballs. Futures Game pitchers threw their fastball 69 percent of the time this year. The major league average this season is 55 percent.

Highest Exit Velocities
Measured in mph (outcome and inning in parentheses)

  1. Peter Alonso, Mets, 113.6 (home run, 7th)
  2. Brendan Rodgers, Rockies, 108.7 (double, 6th)
  3. Taylor Trammell, Reds, 107.9 (home run, 6th)
  4. Taylor Trammell, Reds, 107.3 (triple, 8th)
  5. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres, 107.1 (single, 3rd)
  6. Andres Gimenez, Mets, 106.5 (ground into DP, 8th)
  7. Heliot Ramos, Giants, 105.2 (single, 7th)
  8. Luis Basabe, White Sox, 104.8 (home run, 3rd)
  9. Yusniel Diaz, Dodgers, 103.7 (home run, 5th)
  10. Nate Lowe, Rays, 103.5 (single, 7th)

• In addition to striking two of the four hardest-hit balls in the Futures Game, Taylor Trammell also showed nice power in batting practice. Projections of future power gains for the 20-year-old appear to be on target.

• Trammell (107.6) and Ke’Brayn Hayes (100.2) were the only two batters (with at least two batted balls) to average 100 mph or higher in terms of exit velocity.

• The four other home runs hit in a record-breaking eight-homer Future Game (the previous record was four) also placed inside the top 20 for exit velocity.  

  1. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates, 103.3 (home run, 4th)
  2. Yusniel Diaz, Dodgers, 102.5 (home run, 7th)
  3. Seuly Matias, Royals, 100.7 (home run, 2nd)
  4. Danny Jansen, Blue Jays, 98.9 (home run, 4th)

Peter Alonso’s seventh-inning home run measured 415 feet and was a Statcast first because of its combination of exit velocity and launch angle of 46 degrees. Balls hit that high typically aren’t hit that hard.  

Longest At-Bats
As measured by number of pitches seen

  1. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates, 10 (walk, 3rd)
  2. Peter Alonso, Mets, 9 (home run, 7th)
  3. (tie) Luis Basabe, White Sox, 8 (strikeout, 1st)
  4. (tie) Kyle Lewis, Mariners, 8 (walk, 4th)
  5. (tie) Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates, 8 (popout, 6th)
  6. (tie) Jo Adell, Angels, 7 (double, 7th)
  7. (tie) Nate Lowe, Rays, 7 (groundout, 3rd)
  8. Many tied at 6

• Ke’Bryan Hayes showed impressive discipline and resourcefulness by working two deep counts in the Futures Game. The 10-pitch battle with Bryan Mata resulted in a walk, while his eight-pitch at-bat against Kieran Lovegrove resulted in a popout.

• Peter Alonso battled Adonis Medina for seven pitches before depositing a 95 mph fastball onto the left field concourse.

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