MLB: The 2020 leaders in “True Exit Velocity”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees follows through on a seventh inning run scoring base hit against the Miami Marlins at Yankee Stadium on September 26, 2020 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Marlins 11-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees follows through on a seventh inning run scoring base hit against the Miami Marlins at Yankee Stadium on September 26, 2020 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Marlins 11-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The current exit velocity formula doesn’t do justice to players like Washington’s Juan Soto. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
The current exit velocity formula doesn’t do justice to players like Washington’s Juan Soto. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Nos. 5, 6 and 7

Houston Astro first baseman Yuli Gurriel ranked only 60th in exit velocity during 2020. That was based on an average 89.3 mph departure speed for his 203 official at bats that ended in contact.

But Gurriel supplemented that with a low strikeout rate. He fanned only 27 times in 203 MLB at bats, whiffing only 11.7 percent of the time. As a result, his “True Exit Velocity” only declined to 70.82 mph, better than all but six major leaguers.

6. Juan Soto’s Washington Nationals had a bad post-championship season, but it was not Soto’s fault. His average 92.1 mph exit velocity ranked 19th in 2020.

Even better Soto only struck out 28 times in 196 official at bats, a 14.3 percent whiff rate. As a result, his “True Exit Velocity” averaged 78.94 mph, the game’s sixth best performance.

5. Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado made the biggest ascent on this revised list of any player.

Based on the official stats, Arenado had an ordinary season. His exit velocity averaged just 87.8 mph, ranking him 102nd among the 142 qualifiers.

But exit velocity did Arenado a great injustice. He only struck out 20 times all season, a 10 percent rate. As a result, his “True Exit Velocity” only declined by about 9 mph, to 79.06 mph.