Mariner Hitters Batted Ball Speeds, April 2009

You might have already seen the first trickle, but HIT f/x data is starting to leak out, first to those of us who were privileged enough to attend last year's PITCH f/x conference in San Francisco. The age of HIT f/x is going to usher in a whole new slew of advancement in evaluation metrics so expect the next year or so to see just as much, and likely more, change in the sabr crowd as the past has seen with the widespread adoption of PITCH f/x. 

SURNAME SPEED
Balentien 88.9
Sweeney 84.4
Cedeno 82.2
Branyan 81.9
Betancourt 81.5
Griffey 80.9
MLB AVERAGE 80.8
Burke 80.8
Lopez 80.1
Beltre 79.6
Johnson 77.6
Gutierrez 75.4
Johjima 75.3
Chavez 74.8
Suzuki 72.0

That being said, the data that we have available to us now is not all that much. The sample is only that of April 2009 which presents a small sample size issue. Also giving that we do not have retro data from 2008, it is impossible to do the sort of comparison analysis that I bet many of us are interested in. Is Adrian Beltre hitting the ball with less authority this year than last? No idea. 

Still, it is something and it is neat. So let us work with what we do have instead of dwelling on what we do not yet. Here, then, are the initial batted ball speeds for Mariner hitters over the month of April.

Beyond the sample size issue, there are a couple other things at work here. For one, bunts are certainly going to drag down a hitter's average speed off the bat. I have not yet figured out Sportvision's DB schema enough to see if I can remove bunted balls from the data set. Even so, looking at this table, here is what stands out to me:

Balentien, boy how does he punish the ball when he makes contact. Rather than a case of his improved discipline this season preventing his power, I am now mildly more in the camp that the power is certainly going to show up. 88.9 is somewhere around 20th in all of baseball. Wlad has power. It's not gone. Give it time.

We do not have prior years to compare to, but just given his raw power previously, I certainly am concerned about Beltre here. He should not be below average. That being said, that was April's set. Hopefully we will get May's somewhat soon and then we can run a month to month comparison and I hypothesize that we will see Beltre's number rise.

It is pretty funny that Ichiro is so low.

That is all for now, but rest assured, much more to come.

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