San Diego Padres pitcher Tyson Ross doesn’t rank very high among big-league pitchers for the velocity on his fastball, but he has bragging rights on some of the best hitters in the majors.
This past season was the first official season with MLB’s Statcast technology, which provides us with fun statistics to throw around, from home run distance to average pitch velocity.
While Ross’ two-seam fastball hovers above the MLB average (Ross: 93.4 mph; MLB: 92.3 mph), his velocity is not fast enough to land him a spot on the top 50 for average pitch velocity, where the lowest number is 96.5 mph and ranges to as high as 100 mph (held by Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman).
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However, Ross finished in the top 50 for average exit velocity at the plate –and high on the list as well.
The top 10 leaders of average exit velocity in 2015 include sluggers you might expect, such as Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista. However, scroll down into the top 20 and you will see a name five spots below 2014 AL MVP Mike Trout and two spots above 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson that will catch your eye.
With an average exit velocity of 93.5 mph on balls batted in play, Ross ranks No. 17 among all major-league batters in the category in 2015.
Some notable sluggers Ross eclipses on the list: 18. Yoenis Cespedes (93.4); 19. Donaldson, (93.4); 21. Paul Goldschmidt (93.3); 26. Chris Davis (93.1); 40. Alex Rodriguez (92.5); and 44. Bryce Harper (92.3).
Of course, comparing Ross, a starting pitcher, to all major-league batters isn’t exactly a level playing field.
Ross’ average exit velocity was pulled from 29 balls batted in play, while Cespedes, Donaldson, and Goldschmidt, for example, were judged on an average of 412 balls batted in play.
Nonetheless, that Ross even makes the list is impressive, and that he is the only pitcher to appear in the top 50 is even more spectacular.
While one would expect to find evidence that devalues Ross’ ranking upon further inspection, it’s quite the opposite.
Another interesting statistic provided to us by Statcast is the average launch angle, which demonstrates if the player is primarily hitting line drives, flyballs or groundballs.
Ross holds a 10.6 average launch angle, which is in the range of a line drive and is only slightly off from Stanton (11.2).
The 28-year-old Padres righty demonstrated his might in 2015 by hitting his first-career home run and driving in six runs, notching a career-high 14 hits at a .250 clip.
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner deservedly won the Silver Slugger Award for NL pitchers, but Tyson Ross proved in 2015 that he sure can rake.