Opinion | Vlad Guerrero Jr. Giancarlo Stanton. Aaron Judge. Baseball’s toughest hitters prepare to pitch as the Jays and Yankees meet on deck

Not only will we have playoff baseball a week early in Toronto, with the New York Yankees in a three-game series that could go a long way in determining the fate of both teams in the postseason, but we’re also on the verge of doing so. enjoy a reunion of the three biggest and baddest of all the major leagues.

No one has killed baseball more regularly this season than Blue Jays MVP hopeful Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the only players to record an average exit speed of more than 95 miles. per hour this season.

For those of you whose eyes sparkle at the mere mention of the veil of exit, think of it this way: Remember in the days leading up to analysis when we used to say, “Wow, was that ball really hit, really hard?” Exit velocity tells us who is the best at hitting the ball very, very hard, rather than having to guess.

No one has hit a stronger ball this season than Stanton. In the first inning of a game in Kansas City on August 8, the four-time All-Star and 2017 National League MVP took a 95 mph fastball from rookie Carlos Hernandez and hit it absolutely: 122.2 mph from the start.

Unfortunately for Stanton and the Yankees, it was a low line that hit the pitcher’s mound on the fly and collided with the glove of Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield, who initiated a double play. Pivot shortstop Nicky Lopez turned to Merrifield after the play was over and said “holy shit.”

Of course, Lopez has thrown the ball less often than any other player in the game except for the Angels’ David Fletcher, so his disbelief might have something to do with it.

Despite that, and the three mammoth home runs Stanton hit last weekend in Boston, fueling a Yankees sweep that took them to first wild-card spot in the American League, the six-foot-six slugger was ranks second in the league on average. exit velocity to an even higher slugger on his own team, the six-foot-seven judge.

As Stanton hit the game-ending home run at Fenway Park Sunday night, a three-run shot in the eighth that went 448 feet toward Lansdowne Street past the Green Monster, Judge had the strongest ball in the game. . With Stanton on deck in that eighth inning, Judge gave the Yankees the final lead with a two-run double that jumped the wall in left center field. The rocket came off his bat at 118.4 mph

Judge’s bat explosions have averaged 95.9 mph this year. Stanton is next in the standings with 95.3, followed by Guerrero with 95.2.

The most hit ball by the young Jays star traveled 117.4 mph and cleared the batter’s eye at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida on May 24: a 461-foot home run by Ryan Yarbrough of Tampa Bay.

Giancarlo Stanton, the American League player of the week, homered in all three games of the Yankees' weekend sweep of the Red Sox in Boston.

Even though his best bullet has missed the Bronx bombers, there is far less swing-and-miss in Vladdy’s game, which is why he has hit the ball much more often than Judge or Stanton.

Guerrero’s 264 hit balls lead the major leagues, with Judge ranked 10th and Stanton 25th. A hard hitting ball is defined as one that leaves the bat at 95 mph or higher.

The Blue Jay is behind Washington Nationals’ only 22-year-old phenom Juan Soto when it comes to efficiently smashing the ball: 24.4 percent of Soto’s swings have resulted in a strong ball. Vlad Jr. is next on the list at 23.2 percent. Because they strike out so frequently, Judge and Stanton rank eighth and 16th, respectively.

While the series that begins Tuesday night is not for all marbles, it is possible that either team will be swept and still make it to the wild card game, but it is highly unlikely, it is for most marbles, and the Yankees are warming up. .

Stanton is the AL Player of the Week, having hit .409 with a 1,440 OPS in the past seven days. He drove in more runs in Boston than the Red Sox scored as a team. Judge posted an OPS of .971 last week.

The Blue Jays may have righted the boat with back-to-back wins at Minnesota, scoring 11 runs after cashing in just a dozen in the first five games of the just-completed road trip. George Springer homered in each of those victories to come off a 4-for-46 low.

However, it was a difficult week for Guerrero. He hit just .185 / .267 / .259 in the Blue Jays’ 3-4 run through Tampa Bay and Minny. To his credit, Vladdy continued to hit the ball hard, which is always a good sign. He had the strongest ball or second strongest ball in five of the seven games, and 12 strongest balls on the trip in 27 at-bats.

Guerrero still has a .992 OPS in September, higher than Stanton’s .958 and Judge’s .780. And the Blue Jays’ record for Sept. 18-7 is the best in the American League.

It will be a fun, exciting and stressful last week of the season. When the Yankees come to town, both teams would do well to put some extra padding on their gloves.

Mike Wilner is a Toronto-based baseball columnist for The Star and host of the “Deep Left Field” baseball podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @happiness


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