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Exit Velocities


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J.J. Hardy! Welcome back to the power club. Hardy?s power has been M.I.A. since 2013, and now he?s 33. Maybe he?ll get back over the 10 home run plateau again this year? The early returns are encouraging and he hasn't had to sacrifice contact to get that power back.


Some players in the Orioles clubhouse swear by this batted ball data. Forget home run distances, they want to know how hard the ball was hit, and at what angle it was launched.

So what does it all mean? Well, harder-hit balls are more likely to fall in for base hits, and -- if they’re not hit right at someone -- more likely to go for extra bases. And it should be no surprise that the Orioles are well represented on a leaderboard of players who hit the ball the hardest on average.

As of late Monday night, right fielder Mark Trumbo was hitting the ball harder than anyone in baseball with a 96.1 mph average exit velocity. His five home runs last week all got out in a hurry, but his hardest-hit ball was actually a single in the ninth inning of the Orioles’ walk-off win on Opening Day at 113.5 miles per hour.

That’s propelling him to a league-leading .386 batting average, one that’s right in line with his batting average on balls in play. That suggests he’s not hitting into better or worse luck than expected, but that number is obviously due for a regression. Still, Trumbo making this hard of contact all year would make him more than worth what the Orioles gave up for him and are paying him.

Surgically repaired Matt Wieters looks just like the old Matt Wieters

Surgically repaired Matt Wieters looks just like the old Matt Wieters

There’s one other Orioles batter in the top-10 so far in average exit velocity, and he’s someone who doesn’t have the results to show for it: shortstop J.J. Hardy.

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