Giancarlo Stanton proves he’s King of Swing in MLB’s latest metric advancements

PHOENIX (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton has smashed 410 homers in his big-league career, and even though the New York Yankees slugger has slowed down in recent seasons, the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder still seems to take some of the most vicious cuts in baseball.

Now there are numbers that prove it.

Major League Baseball debuted new metrics on its Baseball Savant website Monday, unveiling categories that measure some of the reasons that the game’s best hitters are so darn good.

Stanton is the king of swings as it relates to bat speed. The sweet spot of the slugger’s bat barrel travels through the strike zone at an average of 80.6 mph, which is far ahead of Pittsburgh’s Oneil Cruz, who is in second place at 77.7 mph.

Stanton also leads the league with a 98.4% fast swing percentage, which measures how often he swings over 75 mph. The average big leaguer’s swing is 72 mph.

In all, there are six new catgories and five of them focus on hitters, including average bat speed, fast swing rate, squared up rate, blasts and swing length. For those who are statistically inclined, it’s a baseball dork’s paradise.

Some of the categories — like bat speed — are fairly straightforward. Others take a little more explaining. And math.

For example, the squared-up rate takes into account the hitter’s bat speed and a pitcher’s velocity. MLB uses an example that includes a homer hit by Minnesota Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach, who took a 75.6 mph swing on a 98.8 mph fastball.

After a little more calculus, MLB says that adds up to a potential 113.4 mph exit velocity and the ball left Larnach’s bat at 110 mph. That means it was 97% squared up. Anything over 80% counts as a squared-up swing.

It’s no surprise that contact specialist Luis Arraez leads that category. The two-time batting champion hits the ball squarely 43.5% of the time, which is far ahead of Angels first baseman Nolan Schaunel, who sits at No. 2.

The only new category for pitchers is one called ‘Swords.’ MLB called the category more “playful than analytical,” but it’s one way to show how often a pitcher makes a hitter look silly with an awkward swing. Atlanta Braves lefty Chris Sale and New York Mets right-hander Luis Severino lead that category with nine.



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