It’s the dead of winter, the heart of the MLB offseason. Now is the time to reflect upon the events of last season searching for something, anything, to feed our addiction to baseball. Fortunately thanks to Statcast we have a veritable feast of baseball data to keep us going through the winter. Here we looked at the hardest hit balls by exit velocity from last season and what happened after they went screaming off the Fish’s bats.
In the interest of variety, Giancarlo Stanton has been disqualified from this list. If he was included all ten spots would belong to him; in fact, he owns the top 24 spots, and 30 of the top 33. Since Statcast began tracking exit velocity in 2015 there have been four batted ball events clocked over 120 MPH, three of them belong to Stanton. He’s the unquestioned king of this stat, so in fairness to his teammates, this is the highest EV list (non-Stanton division).
All video courtesy of Baseball Savant
10. Christian Yelich, 112.4 MPH
· Game: August 3rd at Chicago Cubs
· Pitcher: Joe Smith
· Result: Home Run to right centerfield
In the top of the 8th inning and finding himself in a 2-0 hole, Joe Smith hung a 88 mile an hour slider into the heart of the zone and Yelich made him pay for it. This was Yeli’s hardest hit home run of the season and is one of those rare homers that gets classified as a line drive. The play put the Fish up 4-1 but an unfortunate 9th inning collapse from A.J. Ramos would cost them the game.
9. Christian Yelich, 112.7 MPH
· Game: May 16th at Philadelphia Phillies
· Pitcher: Jerad Eickoff
· Result: Double to center field
With Martin Prado on first base, two outs, and a 1-1 count, Eickoff threw a 92 MPH fastball into the lower middle zone. Yelich drove it into the center field gap on a crisp line drive gaining two bases and moving Prado to third. Stanton then struck out swinging to end the inning.
8. Justin Bour, 113.0 MPH
· Game: May 27th at Atlanta Braves
· Pitcher: Williams Perez
· Result: Single to right field
Big babe Bour got a hold of a sinker in the very first inning of this game. Unfortunately, though he hit it hard enough, he didn’t get quite enough air underneath the ball and it only went for a single base. That’s life in baseball, sometimes you roll over a pitch and it goes over the wall, sometimes you hit it right at a fielder and lose a well-earned base hit.
7. Christian Yelich, 113.6 MPH
· April 7th at Washington Nationals
· Pitcher: Tanner Roark
· Result: Single on a sharp line drive
Yelich got his season going in style. In just the third game of the year, he tore the cover off a 3-2 fastball. It only resulted in a single but advanced Ozuna to second with only one out, subsequent hits by Stanton, Prado, and Realmuto brought home three runs in a very nice 1st inning rally.
6. Justin Bour, 113.6 MPH
· September 13th at Atlanta Braves
· Pitcher: Matt Wisler
· Result: Single to center field
This being the second tie on this list, I gave it to Bour since Yelich got the 10th spot despite a 3-way tie between them and Chris Johnson. Anyway, Bour ripped a 5th inning fastball right back up the middle scoring Yelich from second and moving Ozuna up to third. This probably could have been a double if hit by a faster player, but in this case, Bour was probably wise to hold up at first.
5. Marcell Ozuna, 113.8 MPH
· April 7th at Nationals
· Pitcher: Tanner Roark
· Result: Single to left field
One at-bat before the number seven entry on this list took place, Ozuna also took advantage of what must have been a rough inning for Tanner Roark. On the very first pitch of the at-bat the Big Bear was swinging and sent the ball flying fast towards Jayson Werth. As said previously, this was the rally starter that ended up scoring three runs.
4. Marcell Ozuna, 113.8 MPH
· May 29th at Atlanta Braves
· Pitcher: Ian Krol
· Result: Home Run to center field
Another tie, this time between the same guy. It’s a fun little tidbit that Ozuna happens to have his top two hardest hit balls exactly tied. I gave the tiebreaker to this one because it really is a beauty. Straight shot out of the ballpark, no doubter, that one got out of here in a hurry, choose your favorite cliché but home runs don’t get much sweeter than that.
3. Justin Bour, 114.1 MPH
· June 18th home vs. Colorado Rockies
· Pitcher: Eddie Butler
· Result: Home Run to right
Okay maybe I was wrong, this homer might be sweeter than Ozuna’s. Bour has such a pretty swing, so simple and effortless, yet he rakes like a madman. This is the slowest of the Marlins 33 batted balls clocked over 114 MPH. For reference on how many that is, the next highest team (the Orioles) only hit 16 over 114 MPH. Giancarlo Stanton hit 30 by himself; that’s why he’s not on this list.
2. Chris Johnson, 114.9 MPH
· May 18th at Philadelphia Phillies
· Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson
· Result: Single to left field
Johnson is one of the more unpopular players on the roster; producing negative WAR will have that effect. For everything he struggles with he does upon occasion hit the ball very hard, possessing the two top spots on this list, as well as one that barely missed the cut at 112.4. This ball found its way into left field and put Johnson on first base. Sadly, he was erased an at-bat later when Miguel Rojas grounded into a double play.
1. Chris Johnson, 115.2 MPH
· June 25th home vs. Chicago Cubs
· Pitcher: Spencer Patton
· Result: Ground out 6 to 3
This is a perfect example of just how frustrating baseball can be. Hitting a ball 115 MPH is an immense accomplishment. Only 29 players did it last season for a total 72 batted ball events, 24 of them belonging to Giancarlo Stanton. Of those 72, 45 resulted in hits; that’s a .625 batting average. A further 11 of them went for home runs, a crazy high rate. Chris Johnson, however, got nothing more than a routine ground out to short. Just goes to show, sometimes you can do everything right and still get nothing.