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The Rays are hitting the ball harder than ever before

Or at least harder than ever before in the Statcast era!

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

This morning, this tweet was sent into the DRaysBay Slack channel.

The graphs created by @baseball_tools give a great look into the annual change, specifically in the month of April, in batted ball metrics across Major League Baseball, thanks to Statcast.

Seeing this tweet inspired me to compile these same statistics, but with the focus being on the Rays and how the team has progressed since 2015, the beginning of the Statcast era.

Taking a look first at average exit velocity, the Rays have hit the ball harder in 2019 than any previous season, averaging at 90.2 mph. A big jump from just two years ago, when the average exit velocity was at its lowest point, 86.9 mph, the Rays have started the 2019 campaign mashing the ball. The Rays currently sit at second in the league in average exit velocity, behind only the New York Yankees.

In a similar stat, Hard Hit percentage, the Rays lead the MLB, as shown in this tweet from MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Looking at average launch angle, the 2019 Rays average out at 9.4 degrees, which is actually the lowest launch angle they’ve recorded to start a season in the Statcast era. This is the only trend that the Rays have that completely differs from the overall league’s trend, which currently sits at 12 degrees for 2019, up from 9.7 degrees five years ago. The Rays have the second lowest average launch angle in the MLB, sitting above the Pittsburgh Pirates, who average 8.2 degrees.

In Barrel percentage, which is the percentage of Barrels on the total number of pitches thrown, the Rays are at the highest percentage they’ve been in this five year span, sitting at 1.6%. This percentage has the Rays in the top five in the Majors.

Finally, in xwOBA, the Rays are currently at .340, which once again, is the highest point this number has been at in the Statcast era for the Rays, which is good for top 10 in the MLB. Visualized, here are these stats and the trends over the past five years:

The Rays continue to be on a hot start with a 14-4 record, and the all-time highs in batted ball metrics help showcase why this team is scoring runs at an unprecedented rate for the club.

Currently leading the MLB in run differential, the bats of the Rays are consistently hitting the ball hard. If you’ve been following on a daily basis you knew this, but now we have graphs!