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Statcast standouts of the Mets’ first half

A look at the Mets’ Statcast leaders and special feats of the season so far.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Since Statcast became public in 2015, it has become a favorite tool of many baseball fans and writers who look to quantify impressive feats of strength or notice some interesting oddities. And while the first half of this Mets season wasn’t exactly filled with lots of feats—though there were many oddities—we can still go to Baseball Savant and check out who the Mets’ leaders are in certain Statcast categories and which particular events stand out compared to the rest of the team. So let’s have a look at some notable performers and events of the Mets’ first half.

Best Average Exit Velocity (min. 50 batted balls)

Lucas Duda: 91.5 MPH

Not a huge shock here, but Duda has consistently hit the ball harder than anybody else on the team this year, beating out Yoenis Cespedes by a full MPH, and it’s definitely been reflected in Duda’s numbers for this season. Though he’s played in only 62 games so far, the good first baseman has been having one of his finest offensive seasons, particularly in the power department, as he owns a 127 OPS+ and a .524 SLG.

Lowest Average Exit Velocity (min. 50 batted balls)

Jose Reyes: 83.2 MPH

This was to be expected, as well. Even with a bump in his production of late, Reyes has still hit the ball weaker than anybody else on the team. He has been a complete liability at the plate for most of the season, though it curiously has never had a substantial effect on his playing time. In fact, Reyes has the second-most plate appearances on the team this year, despite owning a 74 wRC+. Meanwhile, Amed Rosario believes he is ready for the major leagues.

Hardest-Hit Ball

Yoenis Cespedes: 115.2 MPH - June 23

Even after missing substantial time in the first half, and mostly playing the rest of it injured, Cespedes still stands out by owning hardest-hit ball by any Mets hitter so far this season. This was a rope that got to the center field wall in about four seconds. And the ball is in the camera’s shot the entire time, so you can see just how quickly it got over the head of Denard Span.

Longest Home Run

Travis d’Arnaud: 455 feet - April 28

This was a bomb. d’Arnaud’s power has made a very welcome return this year. And while his batting average for the year is still sagging, it’s good to see that he at least appears healthy.

Shortest Home Run

Jay Bruce: 347 feet - June 16

Statcast extremes can be fascinating on both ends of the spectrum. And while this ball was indeed hit hard, it is the literal definition of a wall scraper, as it seemed to graze off the top of the wall. It’s hard to hit homers shorter than this in Citi Field, but it’s been done. This was the sixth-shortest home run in Citi Field since the dawn of Statcast in 2015. Last year, Marcell Ozuna tucked a homer into that right field corner at only 334 feet, which is the shortest out-of-the-park Citi Field homer ever tracked by Statcast.

Fastest Pitch

Noah Syndergaard: 100.4 MPH - April 20

We all miss seeing Syndergaard light up radar guns, and we all hope to see those triple digits flash across our screens again soon. But for now, we’re left to marvel at what he’d already accomplished in such a small amount of time this season. With just five starts to his record, it’s a testament to Syndergaard that he still claims 31 of the Mets’ 32 hardest-thrown pitches this year:

The hardest pitch not thrown by Syndergaard or Familia this year was thrown by Jacob deGrom at 97.7 MPH on June 30. That pitch is at number 40 on this list.

Slowest Pitch

Hansel Robles: 46.3 MPH - April 22

Robles never really had a tendency to throw eephus pitches, but on April 22 he apparently broke one out. The pitch was fouled off.

Of course, Robles struggled so mightily this year that he was sent down the Triple-A in May after posting a 6.23 ERA in 21.2 innings. And since being demoted, he’s pitched an identical 21.2 innings in Triple-A to an identical 6.23 ERA. Seriously.

Pitch With The Highest Spin Rate

Kevin Plawecki: 3,597 RPM - April 30

This is not a joke. You can see it for yourself here. The top of the Mets’ spin rate leaderboard is predictably just a collection of Seth Lugo’s Greatest Hits, but topping out all of Lugo’s famous curveballs this season was this one single pitch by Plawecki. The backup catcher came on to pitch in the Mets’ 23-5 loss to the Nationals in April, and he threw this pitch to his first batter. The pitch was recorded at 76 MPH, and it resulted in a fly out to center field.

Now, there’s every chance that this is some sort of odd miscalculation. Granular data like this is prone to errors, and Plawecki doesn’t reappear on that list until pitch #11,360, so this could just be a weird error in the Statcast recording. But it’s actually not impossible for this to be accurate.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean Plawecki accidentally spun off the best pitch thrown by a Mets pitcher this year. Spin rate is weird, and having a high spin rate doesn’t automatically render a pitch great. This pitch was defined as a fastball. Fastballs that spin that much stay up in the zone and don’t sink, which can be effective when you throw hard, as it gives the illusion of the pitch rising. But when you throw 76, it’s kind of just a meatball. So basically, all this means is Plawecki just threw a really bad pitch, which makes sense, because he’s not a pitcher.

This is also backed up by the fact that Carlos Ruiz actually threw the pitch with the highest spin rate of any pitch in baseball this season, at 3,643 RPM, from when he took the mound for the Mariners last month. That pitch was 82 MPH, and it was hit 440 feet by Eddie Rosario. So spin rate is not necessarily a testament to the quality of all pitches.

The Mets are fortunate enough to have three Statcast favorites on their team: Cespedes with his exit velocities, Lugo for his spin rates, and Syndergaard with his pitch velocities. But all three players have missed substantial time this season, so this review might not be as fun as it could’ve been. But with Lugo and Cespedes back now and Syndergaard coming back soon, hopefully the second half can, if nothing else, bring us a little more Statcast fun than the first half did.