In baseball’s Statcast era, people like to go beyond the traditional statistics like batting average and RBIs to rank players across the majors. In the past, lists of the sport’s most powerful hitters were based on who hit the most home runs each season. With Statcast, however, power goes beyond long balls, and one of the most popular stats to use when ranking power hitters is exit velocity, which measures the ball’s speed as it comes off the bat immediately after the player makes contact. These are baseball’s hardest hitters so far in the 2019 season, based on average exit velocity in mph. (All stats are through the end of May).
10. Yoan Moncada, 3B, Chicago White Sox
Yoan Moncada is averaging 92.9 mph off the bat, and his 10 home runs put him on pace to break his career high of 17 homers. But he’s not just hitting for power, because his .283 average is nearly 50 points higher than the .235 he hit last season.
9. Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox
Rafael Devers is among the American League’s best hitters with a .324 average, and he has eight home runs with a .514 slugging. His 93.0 mph exit velocity places him in the top 10 hardest hitters in MLB in 2019.
8. Christian Walker, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
This is Christian Walker’s first full season in the majors, and he’s taking advantage of the playing time with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs through his first 54 games. His .259 average and .497 slugging percentage aren’t overly impressive numbers, but his 93.2 mph average exit velocity is jaw-dropping.
7. Tommy Pham, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Tommy Pham’s .305 average and eight home runs in his first full season as a member of the Rays are solid numbers. So too is his 93.3 mph exit velocity, which places him seventh in the majors through the first two months of the season.
6. Carlos Santana, 1B, Cleveland Indians
Power is Carlos Santana’s most noticeable trait, with home-run totals of 34, 23, and 24 each of the last three seasons. He’s at 10 homers so far in 2019, but he’s also on pace to set a new career high with a .288 average. His 93.4 mph exit velocity puts him just outside the top five on this list, but he’s still one of the hardest hitters in the game.
5. Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
When Christian Yelich won the National League MVP in 2018, people wondered if he was a one-year wonder. His 21 home runs through May indicate that not only was 2018 no fluke, but he’s also in the discussion to repeat as MVP. He’s hitting .306 and slugging .699 this season, and those numbers are backed up by his 93.9 mph exit velocity that is one of the top figures in baseball.
4. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
As with a number of his Yankees teammates, Gary Sanchez has missed time with injury this season. Despite that, he already has 17 home runs in his first 38 games, which is just one fewer than the 18 he hit in 89 contests last season. One reason for the increased homer total in 2019 is his 94.0 mph exit velocity.
3. Nelson Cruz, DH, Minnesota Twins
Nelson Cruz turns 39 years old on July 1, but the veteran can still hit the ball out of the ballpark. He missed more than three weeks on the injured list starting May 12, but he returned June 4. Before heading to the IL, Cruz hit seven home runs in 35 games with a .270 average and .508 slugging. His 94.2 mph exit velocity is third best in the majors, second-best in the American League, and it makes him one of the hardest hitters in the game.
2. Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are a .500 team, but Josh Bell is putting on a show for the fans at PNC Park. He has 18 home runs and 52 RBIs so far this season, with a .343 average, .704 slugging, and 1.109 OPS. He even hit two home runs into the Allegheny River, which doesn’t happen often, in May. That is partially due to his 94.6 mph average exit velocity in 2019.
1. Joey Gallo, OF, Texas Rangers
Joey Gallo is infamous for hitting home runs but not much else, as evidenced by the fact that he set an MLB record in May when he became the first player in major league history to hit 100 home runs before getting 100 singles. He’s at 16 home runs this season, with a respectable with .272 average, which is far ahead of his career high of .209. But the really impressive number for Gallo is his 96.0 mph exit velocity, which is more than a mile per hour better than anyone else in the majors in 2019.