By Jason Shetler
2015 introduced a new wave of analytical thinking in baseball in the form of Statcast. Some of the things that Statcast is able to measure is a player’s launch speed, distance and height of the balls they hit. Here are the Pirates Statcast averages from this past season.
Launch Speed (MLB average: 89.8 mph) Distance (MLB average: 211 feet) Height (MLB average: 33.4 feet)
Pedro Alvarez 93.2 Andrew McCutchen 226.3. Andrew McCutchen 39.8
Jung-Ho Kang 91.5 Neil Walker 222.2 Neil Walker 38.4
Andrew McCutchen 91.4 Gregory Polanco 209.9 Josh Harrison 34.1
Gregory Polanco 91.1 Josh Harrison 208.4 Pedro Alvarez 33.3
Neil Walker 89.8 Pedro Alvarez 205 Gregory Polanco 32.8
Francisco Cervelli 88.8 Francisco Cervelli 204.7 Jordy Mercer 31.2
Starling Marte 88.7 Jordy Mercer 203.9 Sean Rodriguez 30.9
Sean Rodriguez 88.3 Jung-Ho Kang 202.4 Francisco Cervelli 29.7
Jordy Mercer 87.6 Sean Rodriguez 201.1 Jung-Ho Kang 28.8
Josh Harrison 87.1 Starling Marte 194 Corey Hart 28.6
Chris Stewart 84.0 Chris Stewart 186.4 Starling Marte 27.2
Corey Hart 80.7 Corey Hart 158.9 Chris Stewart 22.1
Andrew McCutchen was tops in both distance and height. Pedro Alvarez wound up posting the highest launch speed. Despite his offensive numbers not being as good as they were in 2014, Neil Walker had the second best distance and height. It’s not much of a surprise that Jung-Ho Kang’s launch speed was second highest, as most of the balls he hit this year just seemed to jump off his bat. Even with the first half struggles, Gregory Polanco still managed to end the year with some good Statcast averages. Starling Marte’s distance and height averages were on the low side. That can be contributed to the fact that he had the most infield hits of any player in the Majors in 2015. No surprise that Corey Hart and Chris Stewart finished at or near the bottom, as they virtually displayed little to no power.