As he does from time to time, Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler absolutely ripped a baseball in the Opening Night game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
It’s just that, well, Matt Holliday caught it:
(Perhaps I should say … probably caught it. As you watch the replay, it looks likely that the ball hit the ground for a split-second, but the view was shielded by his glove. Thus, even if challenged, I bet that one’s not overturned.)
Using MLB’s new StatCast data stream (which will hopefully be available for this kind of thing throughout the year), Daren Willman constructed a leaderboard for batted ball statistics, which currently includes just that first Cubs/Cardinals game.
And, if you thought Jorge Soler clobbered that ball, you were right – it was the hardest hit ball of the night, coming off the bat at 111.59 mph. Starlin Castro’s hard single was the next hardest-hit ball, and Jorge Soler had another one in the top four. Here’s a look at the hardest balls of the night:
Exit velocities and some distance traveled data from StatCast's Opening Day pic.twitter.com/YE5lvYxJ0w
— Nick W. Schaller (@NeastWS) April 6, 2015
Did the Cubs have some hard luck on Sunday night? Well, consider that 9 of the 13 hardest hit balls were by the Cubs. That 0-13 with runners in scoring position, then, looks all the more unlucky.
I really, really hope we’ll have this data publicly-available all year, because it offers a fascinating look at just how hard guys are hitting the ball, among other things.