By Will Burchfield
@burchie_kid

You might not guess it by sizing up their averages, but Nicholas Castellanos (.240) and Miguel Cabrera (.268) have hit the ball harder than all but two players in baseball through the first three weeks of the season.

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This comes courtesy of Daren Willman and BaseballSavant’s Statcast leaderboard. Among players who have put at least 30 balls in play, Castellanos and Cabrera rank third and fourth, respectively, in average exit velocity.

(Minnesota’s Miguel Sano ranks first and Texas’ Joey Gallo ranks second.)

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Exit velo doesn’t lead directly to success at the plate, of course. In regard to Castellanos and Cabrera, each player’s hardest-hit ball this season resulted in an out: Castellanos lined out (110.1 mph) against Rick Porcello on April 9 and Cabrera flied out (111.5) against Steven Wright on April 7.

Still, hard contact typically results in base hits. If Castellanos and Cabrera keep squaring up balls the way they have so far, their offensive numbers are due to improve. Castellanos, for his part, already has 11 extra-base hits, tied for 11th most in the majors.

For Cabrera, unfortunately, any statistical correction will have to wait. The Detroit Tigers placed the slugging first baseman on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday with a right groin strain.

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Not every Tigers hitter can fall back on the crutch of hard contact. Jose Iglesias, batting .267 through 13 games, has an average exit velo of 80.9 mph, the eighth lowest mark in the league. Iglesias is also on the D.L. at the moment with a concussion.