(Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire)
As we move towards the end of May, divisions are starting to take shape and players are starting to settle into their own. We are starting to distance ourselves from the dreaded sample size trap and numbers will soon be stabilizing.
There’s a change for the xStats leaders this week. I decided to add qualifiers for xAVG and xSLG- It’s not important for us to know that Jason Kipnis’ .386 xSLG is .127 points above his real SLG. We don’t want to own him anyway. So the minimum xAVG for this list is .250 and the minimum xSLG is now .450.
Carlos Santana has been living at the top of this list all season, as we still wait for the positive regression to kick in. He’s too good to be this bad all year. Matt Carpenter has been tearing it up the last few weeks, as I’ll go into deeper below…
Matt Carpenter (1B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals)- Reports of Matt Carpenter’s death have been greatly exaggerated. He hit .417/.462/.667 this week with an average EV of 94.6, good for 17th.
This chart shows someone who is making solid contact and hitting the ball well. I don’t like the concave area around 20 degrees, but the rest is just beautiful. He spoke about a change in approach this offseason, so here’s hopiong he continues it.
Kenley Jansen (RP, Los Angeles Dodgers) – Those who are worried about Kenley’s production so far can revel in his season-long and career-best 34.5% soft hit rate. This week, Jansen did not allow a ball over 90mph, gotta love that and his average EV of 75.6mph was the second lowest in baseball. Oooo baby. The Ks will come and so will the production, so if you can still buy lo won Jansen, do it.
Zack Godley (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks) – Godley has real issues- his walk rate is up big time as he’s struggling to get his curve in the zone. But the contact against him is still very weak and that’s exciting. His average exit velocity of 83.8 MPH ranked in the 87th percentile this week. Gotta like that.
Nick Pivetta (SP- Philadelphia Phillies) – Compare Godley’s radial chart from his mediocre start vs the Mets to Pivetta’s from his 7 IP gem below.
What worries me here about Pivetta is the percentage of pitches in that cone that are on the verge of being barrels. He averaged a 95.6 MPH exit velocity (6th highest) which makes me doubt this amazing start just a bit.
Andrelton Simmons (SS, Los Angeles Angels)- It may amaze some that Simmons ranks 20th in offensive WAR according to Fangraphs. What’s troubling is that he’s still not hitting the ball all that well. He ranked near the bottom in average EV over the last week and in just the 25th percentile over the last three weeks. It’s not necessary for everyone to hit the ball hard to be successful, but let’s take a look at his spray chart from this week:
This doesn’t look like the chart of someone hitting the ball all that well. Even his hardest hit balls were groundouts in the infield. Here’s hoping Simmons can find some better quality contact in the weeks ahead.