The Z Files: Maximum Exit Velocity, Minimum Value

The Z Files: Maximum Exit Velocity, Minimum Value

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

One of the unfortunate repercussions of more people using next level stats is more people are misusing next level stats. I realize I can often come off as pedantic; maybe it's the years of scientific training. That said, employing a stat for which one is not completely familiar is lazy. Assuming it means something is even worse.

The current example of this is maximum exit velocity. It's referenced in both the mainstream and fantasy analysis. Yeah, it's cool. Major League batters hit the ball wicked hard. However, it either has no predictive value, or there are better indicators. Yet, it's bandied about as if it reveals something more than the batter happened to hit the snot out of the ball on that particular swing.

Intuitively, what should maximum exit velocity imply? One of the common assumption is a high maximum exit velocity portends a high batting average.

Here are the correlation coefficients, comparing maximum exit velocity and BABIP for every hitter with at least 300 plate appearances from 2017-2019. A coefficient of 1 signals perfect direct dependence, -1 means perfect indirect dependence while 0 says the relationship is completely random.

2019

0.10

2018

0.02

2017

0.00

Sorry friends, it doesn't move the needle. How about power, does maximum average velocity correlate to power, expressed in terms of homers per plate appearance? Let's compare it to overall exit velocity and average exit velocity on fly balls.

 

Max EV

AEV

FB AEV

2019

0.56

0.66

0.78

2018

0.55

0.62

0.74

2017

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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