clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

These MLB starting pitchers were toughest to square up in 2015

These pitchers limited hard contact most often.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, ESPN stat guru Mark Simon popularized a statistic called hard hit rate, which is the % of a player's at bats that end in a hard hit ball. Hard hit balls are subjectively classified by video trackers as batted balls that appear to have high exit velocities, strong trajectory and contact on the sweet spot of the barrel. This is a different stat than the new FanGraphs hard%, which uses a percentage of balls in play rather than a percentage of at bats. It is also classified by different video trackers.

The more often a hitter generates a hard hit ball, the more likely strong offensive production occurs. The batting average on hard hit balls is over .700. Approximately 100% of home runs, 80% of triples and 70% of doubles are hard hit, while only 30% of singles are hard hit. For pitchers, limiting hard contact is a way to make run scoring less likely.

League average on this stat is about 15%.

These starting pitchers were toughest to square up in 2015 (min. 1500 pitches):

1. Jake Arrieta, 8.5%

2. Tyson Ross, 8.7%

3. Clayton Kershaw, 8.8%

4. Chris Sale, 9.1%

5. Brett Anderson, 9.6%

6. Dallas Keuchel, 9.6%

7. Sonny Gray, 9.8%

8. Noah Syndergaard, 9.8%

9. Jacob deGrom, 10.1%

10. Matt Harvey, 10.2%

11. Cole Hamels, 10.4%

12. Francisco Liriano, 10.5%

13. Ubaldo Jimenez, 10.6%

14. Gerrit Cole, 10.7%

15. Gio Gonzalez, 10.7%

16. Shelby Miller, 10.8%

17. Stephen Strasburg, 10.9%

18. Mike Bolsinger, 11.1%

19. Felix Hernandez, 11.1%

20. Jon Lester, 11.1%

21. Jaime Garcia, 11.3%

22. David Price, 11.4%

23. Johnny Cueto, 11.5%

24. Hisashi Iwakuma, 11.5%

25. Mike Pelfrey, 11.5%

26. Eduardo Rodriguez, 11.5%

27. Justin Verlander, 11.6%

28. Carlos Carrasco, 11.7%

29. Garrett Richards, 11.7%

30. Zack Greinke, 11.8%