Rapsodo made a trip to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, NC for the inaugural MLB Draft Combine. As data providers for the event, we used our hitting and pitching technology to assess more than 120 of the fastest pitchers and hardest hitters from high schools and colleges across the country. These players were there for one reason and one reason only: to prove they have what it takes to compete on a professional stage.
Our team collected data for all on-field pitching and hitting sessions. We set up the official Rapsodo iPad on the field so MLB players and personalities could stop by and view the data in real time. We had a ton of conversations revolving around the hitting and pitching data of these highly touted draft prospect – and how having this real-time data helps scouts evaluate the true skill of these players.
So who had the fastest pitch and highest exit velocity at this year’s Combine? We reviewed the data and listed out some of the stand outs from the event below.
Who had the highest exit velocity at the MLB Draft Combine?
For the hitting portion of the Combine, we observed 60 hitters, each of which took at least 20 swings. These hitters ranged from the highest ranked High School seniors in the country to some of the top Power 5 talent in the NCAA. Needless to say, the hitting talent did not disappoint. Here are some of the hitters that stuck out to us on the field and on the iPad.
Alex Binelas, Louisville, 1st Baseman
Alex Binelas, a first baseman out of Louisville, probably dropped the most jaws of any player at the Combine. Binelas’ batting practice session had everyone around the USA Baseball complex talking. To put it simply, Binelas was absolutely crushing baseballs. His 55 hits registered an average exit velocity of 95.4 mph with a max out of 109.3 mph – the highest exit velocity recorded at the Combine. 41.8% of his hits were over 100mph, which was second only to the next player on this list. Now for the jaw-dropper… not only did Alex record the highest exit velocity at the event, but he also registered the longest hit of the Combine. Binelas sent a ball flying at a whopping 446ft (109.3 mph exit velocity / 26.6° launch angle). That bomb was only one of the other six balls he smashed over 400ft – beating out every other homerun hitter’s distance at the event. Binelas definitely made necks snap at the Combine, so it’s no surprise that he was scooped up by the Milwaukee Brewers on draft day.
Tommy White, IMG Academy, 3rd Baseman
Tommy White, a third baseman out of IMG Academy, proved that he has the power to match some of the top Power 5 bats in the draft. White led the Combine with an astounding 53.7% of his 67 hits coming it at 100+ mph. To put this in perspective, Binelas was the next highest at 41.8%, and only a total of seven players even reached 30% or higher. White’s exit velocity averaged 94.3 mph, while maintaining an average 24.3° launch angle. That 94.3 mph was good enough for second highest at the Combine, behind only Binelas. While there will certainly be questions about how well he can hit pitches in the mid-90’s, the power White is able to generate as an 18-year-old simply cannot be ignored.
Who threw the fastest pitch at the MLB Draft Combine?
Baseball fans in the stands and at home got to see some serious heat at the Combine. For the pitching portion of the event, we saw 20 pitchers with an average fastball speed over 90 mph. Of those 20, eight of them maxed out at 95 mph or higher. In addition to the fastballs, there were 11 pitchers that averaged 15 inches of vertical break or more on their curveballs, and four of those pitchers reached 20 inches of vertical break at least once. Out of all of these incredible pitching prospects, there were two fastball pitchers that really stood out during their bullpens, and they both go by the name of Mason.
So which one had the fastest pitch?
Mason Miller, Gardner-Webb, Right Handed Pitcher
Mason Miller, a right hander out of Gardner-Webb, had the highest average fastball coming in at 98.2 mph, and his fastest fastball maxed at 99.1 mph. If the speed isn’t enough to convince you that Miller is the real deal, that fastball also whipped around at 2500-2600 RPMs and had up to 99% spin efficiency. These impressive statistics resulted in 14-15 inches of vertical break and 11-13 inches of horizontal break. Miller also threw a nasty slider and changeup, but his fastball is what is going to take him places. He clearly has the raw talent on the mound and could take a big leap forward with some pitch design adjustments at the pro level.
Mason Erla, Michigan State, Right Handed Pitcher
Mason Erla, a right hander out of Michigan State, had the single fastest baseball pitch at the Combine, clocking in at 99.7 mph. He maintained an average fastball speed of 96.2 mph with spin rates between 2300-2400 RPMs. What’s interesting about Erla’s fastball is that he throws it around 2 o’clock, resulting in a ton of arm side run – up to 18 inches. Erla paired his fastest pitch with a couple good sliders and changeups. Similar to Miller, Erla clearly has a very competitive fastball. Check out his EDGE pitch visualization pulled from his Rapsodo Cloud account below.
There was a ton of other outstanding young talent at this year’s MLB Draft Combine. Aside from showcasing these amazing athletes, this Combine also helped prove how valuable live data can be to players, scouts, fans, and broadcast personalities. We’re proud to be the Official Player Development Partner of both USA Baseball and the MLB Prospect Development Pipeline and we were happy to provide data insights at this year’s event. The MLB Draft Combine opened a lot of doors for young athletes and will continue to do so in the future. Rapsodo will be there every step of the way to assist in the scouting and evaluation process of the top prospects baseball has to offer.
Did you know that 97% of first-round MLB draft picks use Rapsodo data to train? Check out some of the fastest pitches and hardest hits from those who made it on Baseball America’s Top 2021 MLB Draft Prospects list!
Understand your data and reach your full potential with Rapsodo today. Visit www.rapsodo.com to learn more.