Let’s look at the most common and prosperous launch angle/exit velocity combination in Major League Baseball for 2015 through the 2017 season. I’ll start with the highest incidents of exit velocity (in this case, 97 MPH) and launch angle (13 degrees). Staying on the frequency scale, I’ll then take the highest occurrence of both in their respective categories and use that as my basis for this research.
Bear in mind that the individual results I outline below are from an incredibly small sample size. These findings are in no way a representation or projection of a hitters ability to make this type of contact, under the exact figures I’ve found, on a regular basis.
The 13-degree launch angle is the most common slope from 2015-2017. Finding the median of all incidents, I used the 100 batted ball events as the cutoff under this launch angle, of which there were 25 different exit velocities.
Top three in terms of wOBA are listed below.
The best result (using the most frequent occurrence) is a 13-degree launch angle with a 95 MPH exit velocity, which occurred 172 times since 2015. In addition to the .922 wOBA, hitters with this criteria produce a .935 batting average, 124 singles, 35 doubles and two triples. See the spray chart below.
One hitter, Yadier Molina, has been the best representation of this metric. While he is among four others with three BBEs, Molina has the best wOBA in the group; 1.017.
This gif demonstrates the look of a hit that meets the Ev/La criteria; a line drive single off of Zach Davies.
The most common exit velocity the last three years has been 97 MPH. Taking all events and again using the median as the cutoff (175 BBEs), I ended up with 32 different launch angles.
Of all the 97 MPH exit velocities, the three with the highest wOBA are as follows:
Occurring 227 times, we see the 13-degree launch angle producing the best result, but this time under the exit velocity of 97 MPH.
The spray chart, which hitters furnish a .907 batting average with 165 singles, 38 doubles, and three triples, is represented below.
Daniel Murphy, who had three BBEs (Jordy Mercer had the most with four), was the most successful under these conditions with a wOBA of 1.250. Here is the visualization, meeting the metrics, of his opposite-field double.
Before we move on, I’m going to accumulate the entire range of data I’ve produced with our most successful launch angle and exit velocity and plot it on this chart below, color-coded by ISO; strictly because that showed the most variance out of the other chart options.
I’ve queried the spread of >=91 MPH since that is our low EV using the initial chart, and <=97 MPH as that is the high point EV. As well, I’ll take the launch angle scope of >=11 degrees and <=13 degrees.
A pretty cohesive graphic with basically no correlation whatsoever.
So then I thought we ought to look at pitchers to see who is giving up this type of contact the most. Using the 13 degrees LA/95 MPH EV, C.C. Sabathia has surrendered the most BBEs; all four ending up as hits.
Again, these are basically insignificant sample sizes when using individuals but a much more accurate outlook when using the events as a whole.
So now we have a summary of the last three years of Statcast data. Going back to the scatterplot and using those ranges, we average out to an ideal exit velocity of 95 MPH with a 13-degree launch angle, which according to my first chart, produces a wOBA of .922 occurring at the general data median of 172 BBEs.