Statcast Standouts: Top Analytical Performers At 2021 MLB Futures Game
Incorporating MLB Statcast data brings new insight and supplies context to prospect evaluations at the 2021 Futures Game in Coors Field. This piece collects standouts in three hitting categories and three pitching ones.
Data sourced from the Baseball Savant gamefeed of the 2021 Futures Game.
TOP 10 HIGHEST EXIT VELOCITIES
2. Drew Waters, 109.6
Single to center field vs Luis Medina (6th inning)
7. Riley Greene, 106.1
Single to right field vs Jake Eder (7th inning)
9. Brett Baty, 105.5
Line out to third base vs Luis Medina (6th inning)
Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and Cubs outfielder Brennan Davis each had a second batted ball at greater than 100 mph that ranked just outside the top 10. Witt's third-inning line out against Nick Lodolo registered at 103.2 mph, while Davis' fourth-inning homer against Josh Winder was struck at 103.5.
TOP FIVE BATTED BALL DISTANCES
These five batted balls account for the five home runs in the game. Red Sox second baseman Jeter Downs' seventh-inning double against Ethan Small was next on the list at 352 feet, which was the same distance covered by Bobby Witt Jr.'s third-inning line out against Nick Lodolo.
HIGHEST TOTAL OF PITCHES IN A PLATE APPEARANCE
8 pitches: Julio Rodriguez vs Manuel Rodriguez: walk (6th inning)
7 pitches: Austin Martin vs Cade Cavalli: walk (5th inning)
7 pitches: Michael Busch vs Luis Medina: single (6th inning)
7 pitches: Luis Campusano vs Brayan Bello: sac fly (3rd inning)
Nationals righthander Cade Cavalli had no trouble lighting up the radar gun—he cleared 100 mph three times, more than any pitcher in the game—but he struggled to put batters away. He threw 29 pitches, also more than any pitcher, in part because he ran up nine pitches against Jeter Downs (strikeout) and seven against Austin Martin (walk).
TOP 10 HIGHEST AVERAGE FOUR-SEAM FASTBALL VELOCITIES
1. Luis Medina, 21 four-seamers at 99.2 mph
2. Cade Cavalli, 22 at 99.1
3. Brayan Bello, three at 97.9
4. Shane Baz, six at 96.6
5. Josh Winder, four at 96.0
6. Quinn Priester, seven at 95.8
7. Jake Eder, five at 95.5
8. Max Meyer, three at 95.4
9. Marcos Diplan, 11 at 94.9
10. Cole Winn, nine at 94.0
Nationals righthander Cade Cavalli topped 100 mph three times and Yankees righthander Luis Medina did it twice. Neither was overly efficient. Cavalli threw strikes or generated a ball in play on 38% of four-seam fastballs, while Medina did so on 50% of them.
TOP 10 HIGHEST RATES OF CALLED STRIKES PLUS WHIFFS
1. Cole Ragans, 33.3%
2. Josh Winder, 33.3%
3. Nick Lodolo, 30.8%
4. Quinn Priester, 30.8%
5. Reid Detmers, 30.0%
6. Shane Baz, 30.0%
7. Marcos Diplan, 29.4%
8. Ethan Small, 28.6%
9. Manuel Rodriguez, 28.6%
10. Jake Eder, 28.6%
Called strikes plus whiffs—or CSW—is a newer metric that indicates pitcher skill. In this year's Futures Game, four pitchers tied for the overall CSW total lead with five: Cole Ragans, Marcos Diplan, Cade Cavalli and Luis Medina. Ragans was the most efficient member of the quartet because he racked up five called strikes and whiffs in 15 pitches.
Bobby Witt Jr.: Royals 2021 Minor League Player Of The Year
Witt, the BA Minor League Player of the Year, was not alone in taking a major step forward in 2021. But the breakthrough success of Royals hitters took root with a 2019 decision.
TOP 10 HIGHEST RATES OF BREAKING AND OFFSPEED PITCHES
1. Josh Winder, 66.7%
2. Cole Winn, 55.0%
3. Cole Ragans, 53.3%
4. Reid Detmers, 50.0%
5. Ethan Small, 50.0%
6. Matthew Liberatore, 50.0%
7. Nick Lodolo, 46.2%
8. Brayan Bello, 45.5%
9. Shane Baz, 40.0%
10. Hector Yan, 40.0%
Batters today have gotten used to not seeing fastballs in fastball counts. Still, in a showcase setting many pitchers want to show off their fastball and not get beat with a second- or third-best offering. That did not apply to Twins righthander Josh Winder, who threw 12 pitches: five sliders, four four-seam fastballs, two changeups and one curveball.