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These hitters have squared the ball up most often through June 28

Steve Mitchell-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 classified by video trackers as batted balls with exit velocities of 90+ mph with strong trajectory and contact on the sweet spot of the barrel. This is a different stat than the new FanGraphs hard%, which is a percentage of balls in play rather than a percentage of at bats. It's also classified by different video trackers.

We want to target hitters with a high hard hit% and pitchers with a low hard hit% because the harder a ball is hit, 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 hitters, generating hard contact is a way to make run scoring more likely.

These hitters have ended the highest percentage of their at bats with a hard hit ball in 2015 (min. 200 ABs):

1. Giancarlo Stanton, 24.4%

2. Bryce Harper, 23.3%

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 23.8%

4. Brian Dozier, 23.6%

5. Anthony Rizzo, 23.6%

6. Freddie Freeman, 23.2%

7. Andrew McCutchen, 23%

8. Prince Fielder, 22.1%

9. Miguel Cabrera, 21.9%

10. Mike Trout, 21.9%

11. Nolan Arenado, 21.7%

12. Jason Kipnis, 21.1%

13. Carlos Santana, 20.9%

14. Lucas Duda, 20.6%

15. Brandon Moss, 20.6%

16. Albert Pujols, 20.6%

17. Ryan Howard, 20.4%

18. Joc Pederson, 20.4%

19. Brandon Belt, 20.2%

20. Adrian Gonzalez, 20.2%

21. Jose Bautista, 20.1%

22. Todd Frazier, 20.1%

23. JD Martinez, 20.1%

24. Luis Valbuena, 20.1%

25. Lorenzo Cain, 20%

26. Adrian Beltre, 19.9%

27. George Springer, 19.6%

28. Jay Bruce, 19.5%

29. Yoenis Cespedes, 19.4%

30. Josh Reddick, 19.1%

31. Josh Donaldson, 19%

32. Derek Norris, 19%

33. Troy Tulowitzki, 18.9%

34. Brandon Crawford, 18.8%

35. Carlos Beltran, 18.5%

36. Kyle Seager, 18%

37. Kendrys Morales, 17.9%

38. Stephen Vogt, 17.9%

39. Brian McCann, 17.7%

40. Buster Posey, 17.7%