Statcast Sunday: Washington Nationals Exit Velocity
This is the first installment of a weekly series called Statcast Sunday, where we will take a deep dive into the Advanced statistics driving the Washington Nationals season.
When it comes to the Washington Nationals offense, there are some glaring question marks. There are only a few hitters whom you could consider to be having a good season, with the rest playing like you would expect a sub .500 team to play. The lack of offensive production could be coming from a source that gets substantial attention in the front offices of Major League Baseball, exit velocity.
The MLB defines Exit Velocity as “the speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.” This is essentially the purest statistic to measure how hard a player hits a baseball, with no other factors being brought into the equation.
The average for the MLB is 88.3 MPH, per Baseball Savant. In 2019, the Nationals have posted a team Exit Velo of 86.9 MPH, well below average. This number is bad enough to give the Nationals the position of 3rd worst in all of baseball.
However, it is not the entire team that is to blame for the awful placement among the league in Exit Velo. Some of the team ranks among the leagues best. Anthony Rendon, for example, averages 92.5 mph, good enough to put him in the top 6% in the league.
The players who are bringing the Nationals down are members like Victor Robles. Robles is averaging 80 mph exit velocity, eight MPH less than the league average. This is enough to put Robles in the bottom 1% of the league.
The Nationals are not hitting the ball very hard relative to the rest of the league, but it is a good sign that the veterans like Rendon are hitting it hard.
The data suggests that some of the players on this team, particularly the younger players, need some time to adjust to a full season of major league pitching. Over time, we could see this area of the Nationals offense improve.