Just like we did last week, here’s a look at the (few) hard hit balls off of Giants’ bats from the week that was. It’s worth looking at to get a very real sense of how this team plays out the string. These games are meaningless and pointless except to the people playing them. How have they managed to fight through irrelevance to compete?
Once again, we’re just ranking these hits by MLB’s “Barreled ball” classification:
To be Barreled, a batted ball requires an exit velocity of at least 98 mph. At that speed, balls struck with a launch angle between 26-30 degrees always garner Barreled classification. For every mph over 98, the range of launch angles expands.
This is cleaner than pure exit velocity because of the combination of hit probability and, basically, the power potential of the hit:
[...] the Barrel classification is assigned to batted-ball events whose comparable hit types (in terms of exit velocity and launch angle) have led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage since Statcast was implemented Major League wide in 2015 [...]
Without further ado...
3. Austin Slater - 9/11/18 at AT&T Park vs. Mike Foltynewicz
Exit Velocity: 101.5 mph
Result: FLY OUT
Mike Foltynewicz was “dialed in” on Tuesday night and nearly pitched a shutout. Slater’s flyout led off the bottom of the second inning, well before the Braves began to score, but it would be their first and only barreled ball of the night.
2. Evan Longoria - 9/12/18 at AT&T Park vs. Anibal Sanchez
Exit Velocity: 101.3 mph
Longoria didn’t look fooled at all by Anibal Sanchez, but this double in the fifth inning didn’t wind up leading to a run. Meanwhile, his single in the bottom of the third inning did score the Giants’ only run, but had an exit velocity of only 90.8 mph. Also, I don’t have video of the double, I have video of this:
1. Brandon Belt - 9/14/18 at AT&T Park vs. Tyler Anderson
Exit Velocity: 98.9 mph
Result: FLY OUT
Sadly, MLB.com does not have video of this play.
As you can see, try as they might, this collection of Giants hitters just aren’t major league caliber. They don’t hit the ball very hard which compounds their general inability to get on base. Most of them seem like really nice guys, though.
It should be noted that Giants pitched allowed only 4 barreled balls all week, too, including 0 in Sunday afternoon’s loss. Sunday’s loss also featured 0 balls with an exit velocity of 100 mph or greater. That’s good! The only pitchers to allow barrels this week were Andrew Suarez (1), Hunter Strickland (1), and Madison Bumgarner (2) — that’s less good, but still.
Obviously, barreled balls aren’t the be all, end all — you can still hit a home run without barreling it — and there are plenty of ways to score runs besides hitting the ball hard (::cough::), but for a team that’s hyper aware of how poorly they’re hitting the ball, examining just how poorly is worth a few minutes.