(Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)
Welcome back to Pitcher List’s weekly Statcast update which will feature two hitters and one pitcher for the hot/not portion. First, the current xBA and xSLG leaders; all hitters must have had at least 200 plate appearances and hold nothing less than a .250 xBA and a .425 xSLG.
In bold we have hitters who made both lists. Scooter Gennett and Eddie Rosario lead the pack in xStats differentials. Albert Almora, Jr. and Gennett are head and shoulders above the rest of the list for their respective stats, while Nolan Arenado leads in overall xSLG and Jean Segura in overall xBA.
Manuel Margot (OF, San Diego Padres) – Margot went off last week posting a .429 batting average, which was .184 points higher than his expected average. His exit velocity was 10 MPH higher than his 2018 average of 85 MPH. Margot had a hit in each game he appeared in (four of which were multi-hit games) with the exception of Tuesday the 19th. Below, you’ll see his spray chart with hits that are concentrated to the right side of the field.
Yesterday, against the San Francisco Giants, Margot hit his first home run since April 9th; his second of 2018. Margot has turned it up in June, hitting over 100 points higher than his season average of .250.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF, New York Yankees) – Stanton had a monster week, hitting .448 with a .323 xBA. and held a 57.4% hard-hit rate. To further elaborate on his contract, he’s hit just one infield popup on all of his BIP events. Below is Stanton’s launch angle chart from last week’s games.
For June, Stanton’s Z-Contact and BABIP is trending up while chasing pitches out of the zone a little less lately. Yet his K% is seeing a bit of an upswing after dropping off late May, early July. If you have him on your fantasy team, it’s still a toss-up if he should be a regular in your lineup.
Jon Lester (SP, Chicago Cubs) – Lester was good (66 GSv2), but not great, in his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. His game BABIP was .208 and he had a wOBA (.257)/xwOBA (.506) difference of .249 (best out of all starters w >=20 PA). However, when contact was made, the average exit velocity was 94.4 MPH, just .5 MPH slower than the highest EV pitcher last week. Lester faced 28 batters (119 pitches!), yielded eight baserunners (three walks) but didn’t allow any to cross the plate. Lester also kept hitters in favorable counts as demonstrated by the count chart below.
Jose Martinez (1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – Martinez had a pretty mediocre week with a .256 xBA but actually hit just .115. As you can see from Martinez’s radial chart, 63% of his contact was either topped or hit under.
What’s more is Martinez had a wRC+ of just 42 and a .111 BABIP; his zone contact is trending downward as well; his lowest since his biggest drop on May 8th. One thing working in Martinez’s favor is his hard-hit rate, which has vastly improved from the beginning of June.
Jose Peraza (2B/SS, Cincinnati Reds) – Peraza had the biggest variation between his xBA and BA; .419 and .235, respectively, with a .184 difference. There was a level of mystification to Peraza’s week as his wRC+ was league-average and he only struck out during 4% of his at-bats. His .267 BABIP wasn’t disconcerting but he did run into a lot of bad luck when he made contact. Like the former Jose, Peraza’s hard-hit rate has gone up (with some spikes and drops) since mid-May and I wouldn’t expect to see him on this portion of our Statcast update much more (if at all) going forward.
Mychal Givens (RP, Baltimore Orioles) – Givens is having a pretty good year for Baltimore, but last week wasn’t indicative of that. He led all pitchers in wOBA difference with a .164 spread that favored xwOBA. He didn’t get hitters to chase much and left a lot of his pitches up in the zone; he had good enough horizontal break, but not much vertical break in his slider or changeup. The zone chart below shows his allowed contact, which is not good location unless you’re confident you can miss bats.
Many of the ‘field out’ contact up in the zone (all four-seam fastballs) were of good fortune for Givens, who is primarily a fastball pitcher. Nevertheless, Givens’ appearance in this group shouldn’t be something to get used to.