Mets first baseman Pete Alonso and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez rank 1-2 for the MLB lead with total barrels hit.
But how important of a metric is that?
It's what hitters look to do when they're at the plate. Statistically, it's when a batter puts the ball in play with the ideal combination of exit velocity (at least 98 mph) and launch angle, according to Statcast.
For hitters, it's the "best thing you can do," writes Statcast's Mike Petriello.
Alonso broke a tie with Sanchez in Thursday's game after hitting a mammoth 454-foot home run in Thursday's win over the Braves. With an exit velocity of 118.3 mph, it was not only the hardest-hit homer in the majors this season, but the ninth-hardest-hit home run since 2015. Only Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge have hit harder home runs than Alonso in that time.
To put it in perspective, Alonso has hit the barrel -- statistically speaking -- 11 times through 12 games. That puts him on pace to hit the barrel 148.5 times over the course of the 2019 season. By comparison, Khris Davis led the majors last season with 70 barrels.
Just behind Alonso is Sanchez, who has hit 10 barrels this season. Davis and Mike Trout are tied in third (nine), while Adalberto Mondesi, Anthony Rendon and Jay Bruce each have eight.
Thanks to Alonso, the Mets rank sixth in the majors in total barrels hit (32) this season, while the Yankees rank fifth with 34. The Mariners, who lead the majors in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS, also lead in total barrels hit (39).
However, just because a ball hits a barrel doesn't mean it falls for a hit.
For example, while Alonso is a perfect 11-for-11 when he hits the barrel, the Mets as a team are 27-for-32 when they hit the barrel. Their .844 batting average ranks eighth in the majors. The Diamondbacks, who are 24-for-26, lead the majors with a .923 barrel batting average.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are 26-for-34, their .765 barrel batting average ranking 17th. Sanchez is just 6-for-10 when he hits the barrel.
There is a difference between hitting the barrel and finding the sweet spot, according to Statcast. While both are hitting terms, the sweet spot is when a batted ball has a launch angle between 8 and 32 degrees.
Of Alonso's 29 batted ball events, 15 have found the sweet spot, or 51.7 percent, which has him tied for 19th. Daniel Vogelbach leads in sweet spot percentage with 69.6 percent (16 of 23). Cody Bellinger (25 of 49) and Ryon Healy (25 of 51) are among the leaders in total sweet spots hit.
The Yankees lead the majors in barrel percentage among batted balls (11.4 percent); i.e., when the Yankees put the ball in play, they have a higher percentage of hitting the barrel than any other team. The Brewers rank second (35 of 320, 10.9 percent) and the Mets third (32 of 297, 10.8 percent).
On an individual level, Alonso and Sanchez also rank 1-2 in barreled ball percentage among batted balls, Alonso at 37.9 percent and Sanchez at 31.3 percent.
What does it mean? Any time Alonso or Sanchez step to the plate, be ready for them to hit the ball hard.