Welcome to week four of the Statcast Roundup! No changes this week to the leader board criteria for this week. Pitchers are going to continue to have the 50 PA minimum for batter’s faced, and we’ll see how we want to adust that going forward. This number still gives us primarily starters in the under/over-performers, which is what most people are searching for on a weekly basis. anyways.
P.S. – If you’re looking for excellent reliever analysis, check out the Streaming RP series that comes out every day.
Time to dive in!
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals) – People rave extremely often about how great Soto, but it’s still not enough. Soto is crushing the baseball at a ridiculous rate once again and it’s amazing that he came up to the majors at age 19 and immediately became a top 10 hitter in all of baseball. There’s an argument now that he only trails Mike Trout. Soto ranks in the 97th percentile for hard-hit rate, 98th percentile for barrels, and 98th percentile in strikeout rate, and that all combines to help contribute to his insane .417/.500/.938 triple slash for the season. Soto is posting nearly a 40% line drive rate for the season, a jump of nearly 10% from last year. He’s getting better, and that’s terrifying for pitchers.
Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – Winker was nowhere to be found on the top 10 xwOBA leaderboard over the first few weeks of the season and now he’s flying towards to very top of the list. He’s slashing .357/.493/.731 for the year and has six homers and chipped in a stolen base. His hard-hit rate is up nearly 10% compared to last season and his barrel% is up by 11%. He’s striking out a bit more this year than we’ve seen him before, but it’s still at just 21% and his walk rate is back up to 12.5% after it slipped under 10% in 2019. He’s hitting atop the Reds lineup that just got Mike Moustakas back into the mix and he’s somehow only rostered in 49% of ESPN leagues.
Under-Performers – Hitters
Pat Valaika (UTIL, Baltimore Orioles) – Valaika is a new name on the list for the under-performers, shooting from completely off the list to the most under-performing hitter in the league (min 50 PA). A good amount of Valakia’s profile looks similar to last season where he slashed .190/.256/.316, but the intriguing things here are that his hard-hit rate has shot up to 40% and he’s shaved his K% from 39% down to just 15%. He’s hitting just .212 this year. Valaika’s batted ball breakdown looks similar tp 2019 as well but his pop-up rate has dropped from 8.9% down to 2.5%. Regardless of how his profile has some intrigue to it, I’m still not trying t0 roster him right now as the production isn’t there. It’s worth keeping a small eye on though.
Evan Longoria (3B, San Francisco Giants) – Longoria has gotten himself healthy and back into the lineup for the Giants and is playing well so far with a .254/.303/.433 slash line and a pair of homers. Despite him running a 41st percentile hard-hit rate, Longoria’s .294 xBA and .395 xwOBA are hovering right around the 85th percentile for each. His xSLG is his best metric right now in the 91st percentile at .585. Longoria’s lifting the ball more with a 33.3% fly-ball rate, up 7% over last year and he’s only posted one season in his entire career with a fly-ball rate over 30%. That came in of his best seasons in the majors, 2016, with 36 homers, 41 doubles, and a .273/.318/.521 triple slash.
Over-Performers – Hitters
Mike Yastrzemski (OF, San Francisco Giants) – Yaz is having a great season for the Giants with six homers and a .319/.439/.660 slash line. He’s running a 69th percentile hard-hit rate, but yet his xBA is down in the 38th percentile which is suppressed by a 42% ground-ball rate this year. His plate discipline has been outstanding with a near 20% BB% and he’s chasing out of the zone just 19.1% of the time. Yaz will definitely remain a fantasy asset all season but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see his average dip down a bit over the course of the year.
Dominic Smith (OF, New York Mets) – Smith is finally getting some consistent playing time for the Mets and has responded with a .323 average, six homers, and 21 RBI. He’s crushing the ball too while he’s at it with an 18.8% barrel rate. Smith is also posting career-best strikeouts and walk rates. Even though he’s on the over-performers list, Smith still has all of the looks of a solid player this year provided he continues to get regular playing time for the Mets.
Under-Performers – Pitchers
Tyler Glasnow (SP, Tampa Bay Rays) – Glasnow makes his first appearance on the under-performers list for pitchers as he’s been getting absolutely crushed this year, despite otherwise solid metrics. Let’s start with the good. Glasnow is still posting a 37% K% and his whiff rate sits in the 83rd percentile in the league. The bad though is that Glasnow has a 47% hard-hit rate against him this year. Glasnow’s fastball is getting annihilated this year with a .421 wOBA against the offering. He still has a 28.7% whiff rate on the fastball, but when batter’s do make contact they are crushing it. His curveball, on the other hand, has just a 1.48 xwOBA against it.
James Paxton (SP, New York Yankees) – This is what I wrote about Paxton two weeks ago in the Statcast Roundup.
As someone who is a tremendous fan of Paxton, I’m nervous. Really nervous. Paxton is getting absolutely smoked every time out and he only has four innings pitched across two starts. He’s lost around four MPH off of his fastball, his xwOBA is in the bottom 4% of the league, and his whiff rate has dropped from the 81st percentile in 2019 to the 31st percentile in 2020.
Things aren’t necessarily great yet for Paxton, but they are significantly better over his last two starts. He’s allowed six runs over 11.1 innings across those two starts but in his start against the Rays he struck out 11 batters. He’s also started incorporating a changeup far more often than he did in his first two starts with a 10% usage in start three before jumping to 15% in his last trip out. The fastball velocity is very slowly creeping back up and sat at 92.9 MPH his last time out. Still down from the 95 MPH he posted last year, but better.
Over-Performers – Pitchers
Tony Gonsolin (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers) – Gonsolin has been outstanding for the Dodgers this year and his reward was a trip to the alternate training site because, well, Dodgers. He’s yet to allow a run this year over 14.2 innings with 12 strikeouts and a 0.55 WHIP. Naturally, he’s going to be on this list because no one can quite be a 0.00 ERA pitcher. Gonsolin’s xwOBA is still excellent at .289 and his wOBA of .150 is in the top 4% of the league. His hard-hit rate is the only blue circle on Baseball Savant, sitting in the 34th percentile. He’ll be back with the Dodgers at some point and is certainly stream worthy when he’s out there.
Alex Cobb (SP, Baltimore Orioles) – Cobb has a 3.76 ERA over 26.1 innings for the Orioles this season thanks to the refound success in his splitter, a pitch that batters posted a .390 wOBA against last season. And that was his best pitch by over .150 points… This year though is a different story with his splitter having .187 wOBA against it and the xwOBA is a .313. The thing I’m concerned with is that he’s generating nearly no whiffs with it (1.9%) while his splitter and curveball are having to carry all of the success for him this year. His 45% hard-hit rate makes me think it’s going to be hard to carry his .218 BABIP from start to start.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm)
What do you make of Cronenworth XSTATS? His numbers look monstrous. You buying?