This article is part of our The Z Files series.
Over the last couple of weeks, the components of average exit velocity have been examined, first on groundballs and last week flyballs. Today, several players will be evaluated, looking at their component average exit velocities in concert. The objective is to decipher whether the player can maintain the associated power or BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and if not, where regression takes it.
Before delving into some players, here's a review of some of the relevant principles. Average exit velocity unto itself doesn't tell the whole story. In general, the harder the contact, the better the chance of a hit, regardless of the batted ball type, but there is so much more involved. Each batted ball type has its own average exit velocity and corresponding average BABIP:
Scientifically, this order makes sense. A pitched ball has a downward trajectory while a swing has an uppercut, some more exaggerated than others. Physics principles instruct us the closer the swing path and ball movement align, the more energy is transferred upon contact. So not only is contact on line drives more centered, the ball and swing are often on similar paths. Groundballs and flyballs occur from non-centered contact, but the exit velocity of a fly is greater than a grounder since the upward trajectory of the swing transfers more energy even if the contact isn't centered.
The associated BABIP per batted ball make sense as well,