Which batters hit the hardest balls in April?

With the release of Sportvision’s HITf/x data for April 2009, we can look at who hit the ball the hardest in April. Since batted ball speed does not decrease much even when the batter hits the ball off center, it is more instructive to look at batted ball speed in the horizontal plane. In other words, hitting the ball very hard straight up is likely to turn into an out, while hitting the ball very hard straight toward the outfield is likely to turn into a hit. In fact, we find that batting average is maximized at an elevation of 11 degrees, so we’ll look at the average batted ball speed for batters in that plane. We should also remove bunt attempts since they purposefully attempt a low batted ball speed.

Here are the results for the 303 batters with 20 or more non-bunt batted balls recorded by HITf/x. Average batted ball speed for a non-pitcher was 75.1 mph. When pitchers were batting, their average batted ball speed was 66.1 mph.

Last           First       Initial Speed  Number
Howard         Ryan             87.9        51
Cabrera        Miguel           86.8        59
Ramirez        Aramis           85.4        36
Saltalamacchia Jarrod           85.2        33
Hairston       Scott            84.3        30
Morales        Jose             83.4        30
Lopez          Felipe           83.4        67
Cameron        Mike             83.1        53
Monroe         Craig            83.1        20
Pujols         Albert           83.1        67
Paulino        Ronny            83.0        26
Winn           Randy            83.0        54
Lewis          Fred             82.9        36
Cruz           Nelson           82.7        52
Kinsler        Ian              82.6        63
Votto          Joey             82.6        49
Youkilis       Kevin            82.5        58
Zimmerman      Ryan             82.5        69
Ishikawa       Travis           82.2        28
Wright         David            82.0        39
Markakis       Nick             81.9        73
Ibanez         Raul             81.7        64
Berkman        Lance            81.6        40
Renteria       Edgar            81.3        50
Gonzalez       Adrian           81.2        56
Dunn           Adam             81.1        52
Shoppach       Kelly            81.1        22
Cust           Jack             81.0        37
Martinez       Victor           80.9        73
Hardy          J.J.             80.8        52
Ethier         Andre            80.7        65
Choo           Shin-Soo         80.6        55
Hart           Corey            80.6        47
Dukes          Elijah           80.6        47
Roberts        Brian            80.5        75
Headley        Chase            80.5        63
Cantu          Jorge            80.4        50
Reynolds       Mark             80.4        46
Sizemore       Grady            80.2        59
Hill           Aaron            80.1        76
Morneau        Justin           80.1        69
Helton         Todd             80.0        57
Kemp           Matt             80.0        53
Weeks          Rickie           79.8        60
Smith          Seth             79.7        27
Moeller        Chad             79.6        21
Jones          Adam             79.6        63
Bay            Jason            79.5        53
Kendrick       Howie            79.5        46
Johnson        Nick             79.4        60
Posada         Jorge            79.4        49
Morales        Kendry           79.4        51
Butler         Billy            79.3        48
Napoli         Mike             79.3        30
Balentien      Wladimir         79.3        24
Spilborghs     Ryan             79.2        54
Ramirez        Hanley           79.1        61
Beltran        Carlos           79.0        53
Jones          Andruw           79.0        22
Ross           Cody             78.9        57
Fukudome       Kosuke           78.8        47
Ramirez        Manny            78.6        56
Hawpe          Brad             78.6        47
Uggla          Dan              78.6        49
Ransom         Cody             78.6        32
Andrus         Elvis            78.5        41
Rodriguez      Ivan             78.4        41
Dye            Jermaine         78.3        51
Tracy          Chad             78.3        58
Tulowitzki     Troy             78.2        38
Lind           Adam             78.2        63
Buck           John             78.2        26
Greene         Khalil           78.2        50
Quentin        Carlos           78.1        58
Doumit         Ryan             78.1        34
Sweeney        Mike             78.1        27
Blake          Casey            78.0        52
Willingham     Josh             78.0        24
Duncan         Chris            78.0        46
Blalock        Hank             78.0        60
Swisher        Nick             77.9        51
Stewart        Ian              77.9        31
Young          Michael          77.8        62
Guillen        Carlos           77.8        56
Barajas        Rod              77.7        50
Garciaparra    Nomar            77.7        26
Rios           Alex             77.6        66
Moss           Brandon          77.6        44
Hundley        Nick             77.5        37
Longoria       Evan             77.5        66
Cabrera        Asdrubal         77.5        46
Rasmus         Colby            77.5        35
Davis          Chris            77.4        29
Cano           Robinson         77.4        76
Varitek        Jason            77.4        46
Gross          Gabe             77.3        28
Harris         Brendan          77.3        28
Giles          Brian            77.3        70
Upton          Justin           77.2        38
Utley          Chase            77.1        54
Sanchez        Freddy           77.1        62
Nady           Xavier           77.0        20
Infante        Omar             77.0        32
Pie            Felix            76.9        33
DeJesus        David            76.9        57
Lowell         Mike             76.8        67
Aybar          Erick            76.8        38
Konerko        Paul             76.8        59
Kubel          Jason            76.8        58
Werth          Jayson           76.8        54
Garko          Ryan             76.7        43
Bautista       Jose             76.7        23
Hunter         Torii            76.7        56
Kotchman       Casey            76.7        57
Lee            Derrek           76.5        49
Snider         Travis           76.5        40
Abreu          Bobby            76.5        57
Young          Delmon           76.5        35
Loney          James            76.5        69
Rolen          Scott            76.4        67
Soriano        Alfonso          76.4        60
Theriot        Ryan             76.4        57
Betancourt     Yuniesky         76.4        47
Hafner         Travis           76.3        41
McLouth        Nate             76.3        41
Teahen         Mark             76.2        63
Guzman         Cristian         76.2        35
Rowand         Aaron            76.2        44
Martin         Russell          76.1        48
LaRoche        Adam             76.1        52
Soto           Geovany          76.1        29
Blum           Geoff            76.0        51
Iwamura        Akinori          75.9        57
Byrd           Marlon           75.8        51
Rivera         Juan             75.6        49
Burrell        Pat              75.5        58
Branyan        Russell          75.5        34
Delgado        Carlos           75.5        45
Hernandez      Anderson         75.4        34
Holliday       Matt             75.4        47
LaRoche        Andy             75.4        51
Callaspo       Alberto          75.4        56
Hermida        Jeremy           75.4        50
Crede          Joe              75.4        49
Giambi         Jason            75.4        45
Overbay        Lyle             75.3        40
Jeter          Derek            75.3        72
Scott          Luke             75.3        54
Pena           Carlos           75.1        58
Hudson         Orlando          75.1        72
Drew           Stephen          75.1        34
Cuddyer        Michael          75.1        52
Huff           Aubrey           75.0        71
Fielder        Prince           74.9        47
Molina         Yadier           74.9        59
DeRosa         Mark             74.9        61
Braun          Ryan             74.6        55
Upton          B.J.             74.6        38
Pence          Hunter           74.6        55
Diaz           Matt             74.6        32
Hamilton       Josh             74.6        51
Millar         Kevin            74.6        27
Jones          Chipper          74.5        46
HairstonJr.    Jerry            74.4        22
Scutaro        Marco            74.4        68
Molina         Bengie           74.4        59
Pedroia        Dustin           74.4        72
Suzuki         Kurt             74.4        51
Sandoval       Pablo            74.4        55
Hall           Bill             74.3        46
Ankiel         Rick             74.1        45
Gload          Ross             74.1        22
Fields         Josh             74.1        42
Jackson        Conor            74.1        57
Zaun           Gregg            74.0        45
Ludwick        Ryan             74.0        48
Ordonez        Magglio          74.0        59
Zobrist        Ben              73.9        32
Barmes         Clint            73.9        44
Fontenot       Mike             73.9        43
Figgins        Chone            73.9        48
Tejada         Miguel           73.9        68
Granderson     Curtis           73.9        63
Peralta        Jhonny           73.9        46
Atkins         Garrett          73.9        66
Pierzynski     A.J.             73.8        55
Thome          Jim              73.8        31
Cabrera        Melky            73.7        37
Inge           Brandon          73.6        48
Gomez          Carlos           73.6        24
Francoeur      Jeff             73.6        70
Johnson        Kelly            73.5        54
GriffeyJr.     Ken              73.4        39
Thurston       Joe              73.3        34
Gonzalez       Edgar            73.3        20
Escobar        Yunel            73.2        60
Pena           Ramiro           73.2        20
Feliz          Pedro            73.2        53
Gonzalez       Alex             73.2        35
Ellsbury       Jacoby           73.1        75
Hernandez      Ramon            73.1        37
Gutierrez      Franklin         73.1        40
Matsui         Hideki           72.9        51
Ellis          Mark             72.9        47
Ortiz          David            72.9        58
Dickerson      Chris            72.9        25
Lopez          Jose             72.9        52
Bruce          Jay              72.9        36
Wigginton      Ty               72.8        65
Jaramillo      Jason            72.7        23
Church         Ryan             72.7        49
Laird          Gerald           72.7        42
Getz           Chris            72.7        42
Redmond        Mike             72.6        23
Snyder         Chris            72.5        23
Blanco         Henry            72.5        20
Counsell       Craig            72.5        22
Molina         Jose             72.5        22
Ojeda          Augie            72.4        30
Drew           J.D.             72.4        43
Crowe          Trevor           72.4        22
Polanco        Placido          72.4        68
Crisp          Coco             72.3        59
Rodriguez      Luis             72.3        42
Schafer        Jordan           72.3        35
Wells          Vernon           72.2        79
Castillo       Luis             72.1        37
Phillips       Brandon          72.0        46
Chavez         Endy             71.9        56
Matsui         Kazuo            71.9        37
Kapler         Gabe             71.8        30
Guillen        Jose             71.8        26
Beltre         Adrian           71.7        61
Jacobs         Mike             71.7        46
Bloomquist     Willie           71.7        29
Hinske         Eric             71.7        24
Fowler         Dexter           71.6        45
Gerut          Jody             71.6        49
Hoffpauir      Micah            71.5        21
Green          Nick             71.4        32
Aviles         Mike             71.4        55
Johnson        Rob              71.3        26
Aybar          Willy            71.3        22
Sweeney        Ryan             71.3        52
Amezaga        Alfredo          71.1        29
Young          Chris            71.0        55
Flores         Jesus            71.0        40
Gonzalez       Alberto          70.9        44
Crawford       Carl             70.9        72
Teixeira       Mark             70.9        53
Bourn          Michael          70.9        46
Kearns         Austin           70.8        39
Baker          John             70.7        37
Bartlett       Jason            70.6        69
Gardner        Brett            70.6        39
Reyes          Jose             70.5        60
Lillibridge    Brent            70.4        21
Eckstein       David            70.4        64
Damon          Johnny           70.4        61
McCann         Brian            70.4        33
Anderson       Garret           70.2        23
Schumaker      Skip             70.1        52
Francisco      Ben              70.1        36
Izturis        Maicer           70.0        38
Coste          Chris            69.8        29
Lee            Carlos           69.8        55
Casilla        Alexi            69.7        49
Cabrera        Orlando          69.7        57
Morgan         Nyjer            69.5        67
Furcal         Rafael           69.5        62
Guerrero       Vladimir         69.5        22
Barden         Brian            69.3        22
Victorino      Shane            69.3        72
Ramirez        Alexei           69.1        50
Kouzmanoff     Kevin            69.1        59
Bonifacio      Emilio           69.1        59
Wilson         Jack             68.9        38
Hill           Koyie            68.8        20
Punto          Nick             68.7        38
Rollins        Jimmy            68.5        68
Navarro        Dioner           68.4        56
Maybin         Cameron          68.3        34
Olivo          Miguel           68.0        27
MatthewsJr.    Gary             68.0        29
Span           Denard           68.0        61
Murphy         Dan              67.9        53
Taveras        Willy            67.9        40
Anderson       Brian            67.9        31
Everett        Adam             67.6        38
Iannetta       Chris            67.4        30
Miles          Aaron            67.4        32
Kendall        Jason            67.1        55
Suzuki         Ichiro           67.0        40
Anderson       Josh             67.0        29
Johnson        Reed             66.9        25
Bradley        Milton           66.9        22
Izturis        Cesar            66.8        59
Vazquez        Ramon            66.6        23
Johjima        Kenji            66.2        21
Byrnes         Eric             65.5        41
Encarnacion    Edwin            64.0        38
Burriss        Emmanuel         63.7        43
Chavez         Eric             60.0        22
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