Ever since Statcast became a thing in 2015, hitting instructors, players, and fans have become obsessed with exit velocity.
The whole concept is really cool: who can hit the ball the hardest?
However, it’s not just cool: it could be predictive of future performance.
Hitting the ball hard makes it way more difficult for defenders to field it, so it’s correlated to positive results.
Not because he does it particularly often, but because when he connects, the ball cries.
Tuesday’s game was one of those games in which he did it often, too: as long as that happens, he will be a successful major league hitter.
“Oneil Cruz tonight: 110.9 MPH single, 115.3 MPH double, 108.9 MPH groundout, 113.4 MPH home run. Just the fourth time an MLB batter has had four batted balls in one game hit at 108.9+ MPH in the entire Statcast era!” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Oneil Cruz tonight:
🔥 110.9 MPH single
🔥 115.3 MPH double
🔥 108.9 MPH groundout
🔥 113.4 MPH home run
Just the fourth time an MLB batter has had four batted balls in one game hit at 108.9+ MPH in the entire Statcast era!pic.twitter.com/O9DSf4J4XU
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) September 7, 2022
Nobody Hits The Ball Harder Than Cruz
Again, if you are an MLB shortstop, or even center fielder (just to provide two examples), it’s way easier to field a 60-mph popup or an 80-mph grounder than a 115-mph laser to the gaps.
It’s common sense.
Cruz already hit the hardest ball of the Statcast era this season: the next challenge, for him, will be doing that more often.
His numbers are on the rise: as of Wednesday afternoon, he is hitting .213/.263/.443 with 13 home runs and a 92 wRC+.
The league average wRC+ is 100, so he is going in the right direction considering that his wRC+ was much lower a few weeks ago.
Cruz has MVP potential if he can find more consistency.