The Pitcher Plate Discipline Rankings 2019 Edition- 05/04

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Plate Discipline Leaderboard, and may the fourth be with you all. If you’re new to this post, the calculations of each metric are outlined below:

Plate Discipline A
Inverse Contact % = (100% – Contact %)
F-Strike %

The standard deviations above/below average for everything aside from F-Strike% is multiplied by three. Then, those three numbers are added to the standard deviation above/below average for F-Strike%, and that total is divided by four.

Plate Discipline B
Inverse xSLG = (100% – xSLG %)

The standard deviation above/below average is multiplied by one and one half.

Final Plate Discipline
The average of Plate Discipline A and Plate Discipline B.

NameO-Swing%Inv. Contact%2SwStr1%F-Strike%Inv xSLGPlate Discipline APlate Discipline BFinal PD
Mike Clevinger-0.0934.3363.6402.1512.2936.4503.4394.944
Ryne Stanek2.2622.9254.4411.1550.8597.5101.2894.399
Blake Snell0.8533.1722.9081.4941.1755.5741.7633.668
Chris Bassitt0.9921.5671.341-1.2622.3142.6103.4703.040
Stephen Strasburg1.8461.7791.5850.4980.9964.0321.4942.763
Clayton Kershaw2.0770.3330.8532.7031.4283.1232.1422.633
Max Scherzer1.2001.7442.2462.3420.5114.4780.7672.622
Matthew Boyd0.9231.5151.7590.4981.2173.2711.8262.549
Matt Moore0.7840.9501.3760.4981.7232.4572.5852.521
Luis Castillo0.1611.8501.201-2.3862.0501.8133.0752.444
Jerad Eickhoff-1.0861.0380.4351.8552.4190.7543.6282.191
Caleb Smith1.7311.2851.759-0.9230.6483.3500.9722.161
Mike Soroka0.7840.2620.1221.3462.0611.2133.0912.152
Gerrit Cole0.6461.6561.968-0.4770.8063.0821.2102.146
German Marquez1.5460.9151.2011.3880.5323.0940.7981.946
James Paxton0.4381.0381.4801.3030.8272.5431.2411.892
Chris Paddack1.154-0.3020.2262.6601.5021.4732.2531.863
Charlie Morton0.6920.7920.574-0.9651.5761.3022.3641.833
Julio Urias0.3221.3211.097-1.7501.3021.6181.9531.785
Domingo German1.6850.7560.888-0.6680.8062.3291.2101.769
Jacob deGrom0.4151.1801.4100.4130.7752.3571.1621.759
Joe Musgrove1.6610.5800.8880.4980.6802.4711.0201.746
Jack Flaherty0.7840.9150.9921.0490.4802.2810.7191.500
Jameson Taillon1.6150.3150.7141.7490.3742.4200.5611.491
Kevin Gausman1.9620.4560.8180.0950.3432.4510.5141.482
Justin Verlander1.7540.5450.992-0.1170.1952.4390.2931.366
Mike Minor0.2760.7920.5050.3280.9431.2611.4151.338
Kenta Maeda0.4380.7920.7141.8970.4691.9320.7041.318
Noah Syndergaard0.4380.4740.6790.3280.8591.2751.2891.282
Eduardo Rodriguez0.2071.2501.0270.2860.4061.9350.6091.272
Lucas Giolito-0.7630.9150.6440.2651.2280.6631.8421.253
David Price0.1150.9681.2361.5150.2582.1180.3871.253
Trevor Richards0.2991.2501.271-0.6890.3431.9430.5141.228
Hyun-Jin Ryu1.2230.8090.853-1.0920.3531.8910.5301.210
Collin McHugh0.1840.8800.6090.2860.6591.3260.9881.157
Matt Shoemaker1.4540.7210.9921.537-0.3742.759-0.5611.099
Carlos Rodon0.1380.7560.644-1.7710.9430.7111.4151.063
Tyler Glasnow-0.3240.3330.2260.6251.1440.3321.7151.024
Ross Stripling0.7380.1040.0522.1300.5531.2030.8301.016
Sandy Alcantara0.9000.0680.226-1.6860.9860.4741.4780.976
Jake Odorizzi-0.7401.0380.783-0.6260.8060.6551.2100.932
Carlos Carrasco0.5070.8621.0271.091-0.1532.070-0.2290.920
Dylan Bundy1.0841.1801.2710.646-0.6902.813-1.0360.889
Corey Kluber0.7380.6500.6790.858-0.0371.765-0.0550.855
Jose Quintana0.4610.3860.2261.9180.2581.2840.3870.836
John Means0.0910.7740.714-1.3040.5110.8580.7670.813
Joey Lucchesi0.7150.3330.365-1.6220.5850.6540.8780.766
Marcus Stroman-0.4400.5800.261-0.7740.9430.1071.4150.761
Pablo Lopez0.1840.2980.435-0.5830.6380.5420.9570.749
Felix Hernandez1.338-0.584-0.6102.5540.4690.7470.7040.725
Martin Perez2.308-0.884-0.401-0.2020.3740.7170.5610.639
Spencer Turnbull0.2530.0160.1221.2610.3640.6080.5460.577
Madison Bumgarner0.992-0.2670.0522.257-0.0261.147-0.0390.554
Cole Hamels0.1150.1920.087-0.2870.5850.2230.8780.550
Trevor Williams1.846-0.743-0.1921.6210.0051.0890.0080.548
Jose Berrios0.9230.4560.5050.286-0.2901.484-0.4350.525
Frankie Montas0.761-0.425-0.1570.2010.5640.1840.8460.515
Max Fried-0.370-0.478-0.3660.6251.123-0.7551.6840.465
Shane Bieber0.2071.2680.888-0.817-0.4371.568-0.6560.456
Yu Darvish-0.3931.4261.027-2.216-0.1320.991-0.1980.397
Kyle Gibson0.1380.8270.4000.307-0.2691.100-0.4030.349
Trevor Bauer-0.8780.7920.505-0.6470.3530.1520.5300.341
Jon Gray0.0910.2980.3310.625-0.0160.696-0.0240.336
Sonny Gray-1.0170.280-0.401-1.7711.302-1.2961.9530.328
Masahiro Tanaka0.392-0.372-0.4710.7520.522-0.1510.7830.316
Julio Teheran-0.8090.8800.505-0.6260.2370.2750.3560.315
Zack Greinke1.269-0.408-0.5050.3070.0900.3440.1340.239
Patrick Corbin0.3920.6680.365-0.986-0.2370.822-0.3560.233
Anibal Sanchez0.369-0.090-0.262-0.1590.322-0.0270.4820.227
Chris Sale0.7380.3510.5051.833-0.8061.653-1.2090.222
Zach Eflin0.045-0.408-0.2621.8760.2480.0010.3720.186
Robbie Ray-0.0471.0560.331-2.068-0.0900.488-0.1340.177
Jakob Junis0.6920.033-0.0180.646-0.2580.692-0.3870.152
Nick Margevicius-0.162-0.178-0.296-0.6260.617-0.6350.9250.145
Brad Peacock-0.578-0.902-0.7840.3491.207-1.6101.8100.100
Luke Weaver0.184-0.020-0.053-0.4770.132-0.0360.1980.081
Ivan Nova1.477-0.496-0.1570.201-0.3530.668-0.5300.069
Wade Miley0.322-0.655-0.505-1.0080.606-0.8800.9090.014
Brandon Woodruff-0.3240.0680.156-0.7740.142-0.2680.213-0.027
Yonny Chirinos0.484-0.549-0.1221.367-0.2160.201-0.324-0.061
Jeff Samardzija0.276-0.672-0.5401.1970.121-0.4030.182-0.111
Anthony DeSclafani-0.8090.0860.087-1.5160.353-0.8560.530-0.163
Michael Pineda0.461-0.602-0.2270.985-0.290-0.029-0.435-0.232
Trent Thornton-0.0470.4920.226-2.046-0.343-0.009-0.514-0.261
Derek Holland-1.0170.8620.2960.985-0.6060.352-0.909-0.278
Marco Gonzales0.068-1.290-1.1321.2190.585-1.4610.878-0.292
Chris Archer-0.4630.5800.540-1.347-0.6060.156-0.909-0.377
Kyle Freeland-0.209-0.249-0.1920.604-0.279-0.336-0.419-0.378
Lance Lynn-0.624-0.531-0.4360.0950.269-1.1700.403-0.383
Michael Wacha-0.509-0.390-0.471-1.4950.385-1.4010.577-0.412
Vince Velasquez-0.301-0.461-0.296-1.6860.237-1.2150.356-0.430
Chad Bettis-1.225-0.020-0.2272.257-0.216-0.539-0.324-0.431
Reynaldo Lopez-1.2710.4560.226-0.477-0.205-0.560-0.308-0.434
Zack Wheeler-1.132-0.461-0.4010.0950.374-1.4720.561-0.455
Homer Bailey0.184-0.231-0.1920.180-0.532-0.135-0.798-0.467
Eric Lauer0.253-0.849-0.7140.159-0.068-0.943-0.103-0.523
Jordan Lyles0.161-0.655-0.610-0.732-0.090-1.011-0.134-0.573
Clay Buchholz1.269-0.778-0.5050.265-0.8170.055-1.225-0.585
Daniel Norris0.530-0.884-0.7492.151-0.659-0.289-0.988-0.639

Since TablePress only allows an import of the first 100 rows, I’m attaching the link to the full table here. Next week the leaderboard will look different, as the minimum IP will remove Mike Clevinger from the top of the board. Now, let’s look a little deeper on a couple of guys.


Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres


Paddack only comes in at No. 35 on The List, but his plate discipline skills rank No. 17 among starters with at least 10 innings pitched. Of all the components that make up the plate discipline grade, Paddack is most elite in what carries the least weight, but starting 73.8% of your plate appearances with a strike is still effective for setting up pitch sequencing the rest of the at-bat. On the left half of the visualization below is how Paddack threw his fastball to RHH in his April 24th start, his highest by Fangraphs game score.Sure, there are a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate, but he was moving inside and outside on the batters while keeping his fastball up in the zone. Fastballs up and in the corners of the zone induce the weakest contact, which contributes to Paddack’s low xSLG despite his below average Contact %.

The rest of his low xSLG is explained by his changeup location, which is shown in the graphic above. The left half is once again referencing the April 24th game, where he almost exclusively located his changeup on the black to RHH. While he uses these two pitches effectively most of the time, there are instances where living in the zone as often as he does nets out negatively. Take the April 18th game for example: Paddack exclusively kept his fastball outside to RHH, and his changeup was either close to the heart of the zone or well below it. This luckily didn’t hurt him that much, but when he didn’t change his fastball location much for LHH, they took him yard.I think Paddack is better than his xFIP and SIERA indicate, but the 1.91 ERA is not sustainable when you’re a pseudo-two-pitch starter. There’s concern for his innings/usage, but not enough where I would say Paddack isn’t worth pursuing if you don’t own him already.

Recommendation: Hold/Buy


Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers


Last week Daniel was asked if we could address either Maeda or Sandy Alcantara because of the large disparity seen between their place on the Plate Discipline Leaderboard and the ranks of a different methodology. I flipped a coin, saw it landed tails, and said, “I don’t want to write about Alcantara, so I’ll just dive into Maeda.”

Throughout his career, Maeda has struggled more against LHH than he has against RHH. Sure, the sample size is smaller by ~70 batters faced, but a wOBA difference of .331 and .268 (against LHH and RHH respectively) is significantly worse. Why do LHH give Maeda so much trouble? Well, his slider was a bonafide Money Pitch in both 2017 and 2018. He threw it over 40% of the time to RHH, but only 12% of the time to LHH; this season, he’s only thrown it 5% of the time to LHH, while also decreasing the usage of other secondary pitches in favor of his changeup.

So it’s his changeup that’s getting him into trouble?No, Maeda’s changeup was his best by pVal last season, and is one of his two positive pVal pitches this season. Oddly enough, Maeda has faced more LHH than he has RHH this season, and as history would suggest, he has performed worse against LHH than RHH. Ah, so that’s why his ERA is in the mid-4’s? Surprisingly, the answer isn’t that easy. His xFIP against each is nearly identical despite the wOBA difference, so it needs to be something more consistent than an anomaly in total batters faced.

Maeda’s fastball has been getting crushed this year. The wOBA against his four-seamer is .487, which is 28% worse than last season’s career worst mark of .379. There is hope for some positive regression since his xwOBA against his four-seamer is .396, but that’s still not a mark to be excited about. If Maeda starts working batters with his fastball like he did in the April 16th game more consistently, then he’s a good buy low target. Since most of his games look more like the April 23rd game though, I’d be looking to move him for another struggling pitcher who has a better chance of turning it around. The ~12% swing and miss on fastballs in the zone is way too low when it’s getting hit as hard as it does so consistently.

Recommendation: Sell

Alex Drennan

Alex is a self-proclaimed rational Mets fan, yet he buys into the team's false hope every April. He's usually disappointed by mid-May.


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