Analytics MLB

MLB: Highest and Lowest Exit Velocities off Curveballs (Post All-Star Break) – Pitchers’ Edition

Over the past week, we’ve gone over Whiff% rates for both hitters and pitchers. If you’ve missed any of those, be sure to check out our ‘Analytics’ page, which can be found with this link. Today, we’ll shift to exit velocities, as we look at which pitchers yielded the softest and hardest contact off the curveball.

Exit Velocity Criteria

In order to qualify for this list, a pitcher must have thrown at least 100 curves throughout the second half of 2019. Based off of pitch data collected by Baseball Savant, 109 pitchers met this criteria. Just keep in mind this, this is not how hard a pitcher throws his curveball. Rather, this has to do with how hard opposing batters are hitting the curve.

Lowest Exit Velocity Off Curveball

Here are the pitchers who yielded the softest contact off the curve:

# Team Player # of Curve Thrown Opp. Mean Exit Velocity (MPH)
1 Rays Ryan Yarbrough 146 71.2
2 Cardinals Dakota Hudson 126 72.2
3 Nationals Erick Fedde 115 73.9
4 Braves Jerry Blevins 149 75.0
5 Rangers/Phillies Drew Smyly 337 76.1
6 Red Sox Nathan Eovaldi 185 76.2
7 Twins Randy Dobnak 119 76.2
8 Marlins/Rays Nick Anderson 141 77.0
9 Diamondbacks Stefan Crichton 106 77.3
10 Mets Steven Matz 188 77.5

Not surprisingly, nine of the ten pitchers, with the exception of Drew Smyly, on this list threw less than 200 pitches. Interestingly enough, one pitcher who just missed this list was Rays pitcher Charlie Morton. Morton, who threw the second most curveballs out of any pitcher during this time frame (526), was twelfth on this list with a mean exit velocity of 78.2 MPH.

Highest Exit Velocity off Curveballs

Here are the ten pitchers who yielded the hardest contact off the curveball:

# Team Player # of Curve Thrown Opp. Mean Exit Velocity (MPH)
1 Mariners Matt Magill 134 90.8
2 Twins Kyle Gibson 155 89.4
3 Tigers Tyler Alexander 142 89.3
4 Mariners Yusei Kikuchi 112 88.0
5 Brewers Adrian Houser 153 87.7
6 White Sox Ross Detwiler 126 87.3
7 Twins Devin Smeltzer 120 87.2
8 Angels Dillon Peters 282 87.2
9 White Sox Ivan Nova 204 87.2
10 Astros Will Harris 173 87.1

It’s worth pointing out that Orioles pitcher Asher Wojciechowski, who threw the eleventh most curveballs after the All-Star Break (310), just missed the bottom ten in the exit velocity category. Wojciechowski finished with the eleventh worst exit velocity on the breaking ball, as the mean velocity off the curve was 87.0 MPH.


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