2023 MLB PLV All-Stars: August

Who are the PLV leaders by Category?

As we’ll reveal our seasonal PLV All-Stars next month after the conclusion of the regular season, we thought we’d try something a bit different this month.

Thus, this month focuses on the individual PLV category leaders through August. The players with the highest ranking in the five hitting categories and pitchers with the lowest PLA by pitch are highlighted below. If you are wondering, hitters must have seen a minimum of 1,200 pitches to qualify, and pitchers must have thrown a minimum of 1,000.

If you are new to this series or need a refresher on PLV, check out the What is PLV? primer for more information. You can also find prior editions of our “PLV All-Stars” series in my archive. If you are a fan of visual aids, you will love this article, as there are a ton of charts below.




Strikezone Judgement

“The ‘correctness’ of a hitter’s swings and takes, using the likelihood of a pitch being a called strike (for swings) or a ball/HBP (for takes).”


Three hitters had a rank of 75 through August in SZ Judge: J.D. Davis, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager.



It’s a bit of a surprise to see J.D. Davis rank so high, as he’s struck out in 28.5% of his plate appearances this season. This is offset by a solid 9.2% BB%, which helps give him a respectable .321 OBP despite a subpar .245 batting average.



Marcus Semien is posting a near career-low K-rate of 14%, and his 0.69 K/BB ratio is among the league’s best. His SZ Judge has faded recently, but not his production, as he slashed .277/.362/.491 in August.



Corey Seager has been awesome all season and would be an MVP favorite if not for two stints on the IL, one of which was lengthy. He’s been remarkably consistent despite the hiccups in his playing time and ranks high in nearly every PLV category.


Decision Value

“Modeled value (runs per 100 pitches) of a hitter’s decision to swing or take, minus the modeled value of the alternative”.


Two players had a 75 DV through August. One, Andrew McCutchen, will surprise many, but the other, Juan Soto, probably won’t.



Andrew McCutchen has thrived in his return to Pittsburgh, putting forth one of his best offensive seasons in years, thanks largely to a near career-high 15.9% BB%. McCutchen doesn’t have as much pop as he used to, but his .378 OBP is his highest since 2019.



Juan Soto has been a master of the strike zone since debuting at the tender age of 19 in 2018. His 18.9% BB rate leads the league and contributes to his ranking near the top of baseball in OBP and OPS.


Contact Ability

“A hitter’s ability to make contact (foul strike or BIP), above the contact expectation of each pitch”.


The fact that Luis Arraez leads all hitters with a 75 Contact rank won’t surprise baseball fans. However, most will be shocked that Keibert Ruiz is the only other player to match him.



Luis Arraez leads baseball with a .356 batting average. Miami’s second baseman rarely strikes out and doesn’t walk a lot, but he’s a master at putting the ball in play. His SwStr% is a meager 3.1%, and he even makes contact on pitches out of the zone at a 91.5% clip.



Like Arraez, Keibert Ruiz doesn’t walk or strike out much. However, his batting average is over 0.100 points lower. Though he swings and misses only 6.3% of the time, he’s less successful on pitches out of the zone, with an O-Swing % of 37.3%.

The most significant difference between the two players is BABIP. Ruiz’s is a relatively low .253, while Arraez’s is a robust .370. Some of this is likely due to Ruiz’s catcher speed, but it also suggests his average will increase over time.



“Modeled number of extra bases (xISO on contact) above a pitch’s expectation, for each BBE”.


Four players have recorded a perfect 80 PLV in the Power department through August, and all sluggers of the highest pedigree.



Joey Gallo is doing his Joey Gallo thing again this season. He’s hitting .178 thanks to a 42.9% strikeout rate but has an ISO of .263 and 21 homers in 281 at-bats.

Gallo has a BA over .210 only once in his career – in 2019, when a .368 BABIP led him to a .253 average. He’s a true “three outcomes” slugger who has a .302 OBP despite the low average, thanks to a 14.5% BB%.



Patrick Wisdom has been Gallo-esque since finally breaking into the big leagues in 2021. Statistically, he’s been more powerful than Gallo this year, with a .300 ISO and an identical 21 homers in fewer at-bats (240).

He doesn’t walk as often, though, and his .288 OBP and 37.5% K% have turned him into a platoon option on the suddenly relevant Cubs.



Aaron Judge was matching his 2022 prowess to begin the season before a torn toe ligament knocked him out of action for nearly two months. Since returning, his batting average has suffered more than his power, but he’s still a formidable force at the plate.

Judge hit 19 dingers before the injury and has 12 since, but his average has dropped from .291 pre-injury to .216 post. Even so, his ISO post-injury is still a ridiculous .319, which pales compared to the .383 ISO he posted before going down.



Injuries are beginning to take their toll on the incredible Shohei Ohtani, but that doesn’t diminish what an incredible offensive player he’s been this year. In June, Ohtani had a month for the ages, belting 16 HRs, driving in 29, and slashing .394/.492/.952.

His 44 HRs lead the AL, and his .350 ISO is the best among qualified hitters. The man can do it all on a baseball diamond.


Hitter Performance

“Runs added per 100 pitches seen by the hitter (including swing/take decisions), after accounting for pitch quality”.


Three players recorded a perfect 80 HP through August. Two, Corey Seager and Shohei Ohtani, have already been mentioned, while the third, Mookie Betts, has played himself into MVP consideration.



Mookie Betts had an awful April, but his OPS has steadily increased, leading to a monster August in which he slashed .455/.516/.839 with 11 HRs, 35 runs, and 30 RBI.

Betts has already surpassed his season high in dingers and could also set career marks in runs and RBI if he plays enough down the stretch. Betts ranks third in wOBA and OPS on the season, behind the two sluggers below.



We’ve already discussed Corey Seager a bit, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention his consistency this season one more time. Since returning from his first trip to the IL in mid-May, Seager’s batting average has not dipped below .300, and now that he has enough at-bats, he is in prime position to win the AL batting title.

Seager has had a season worthy of the MVP award, but he’ll likely fall short of the man up next.



As mentioned above, Shohei Ohtani has done it all this year and has had the best offensive season of his career. Provided he doesn’t get shut down, he’ll surpass his amazing 2021 in HRs, runs, and RBI with an OPS above 1.000.

Through August, Ohtani led the league in OPS and HRs and ranked second in wOBA, SLG, and OBP.






There’s little doubt who owns the best fastball in baseball. Spencer Strider brings it at over 97 mph on average and generates a whiff on 16.5% of swings, which is near the best in MLB. Strider’s four-seamer sets up everything he does and drives his absurd 38% K-rate.





Matt Strahm started for the Phillies early in the season and has been a big part of their bullpen since early June. Strahm’s four pitches have all been effective, but his sinker is off the PLV chart at 5.47. He generates strikes with his sinker 75% of the time he throws it, primarily off of swings and misses.





Matt Manning has an above-average PLV this season, thanks almost entirely to his dominant slider. The slider results in a positive result (PLUS%) 63.6% of the time he throws it, which ranks in the 93rd percentile. Manning throws the slider for strikes at a high clip, and the opposition is batting only .185 against it.





Michael Wacha has re-emerged as a trustworthy starter this season. He’s been a bright spot on a disappointing season for the Padres, and he’s done most of his damage with the changeup.

Wacha’s change has been so good that it offsets his other, mostly average offerings. He throws it often and produces a PLUS% in the 97th percentile, thanks mainly to a high 20.5% SwStr%.





José Berríos wasn’t our PLV leader on the curveball; a particular Dodger lefty was, but we didn’t feel he deserved our attention. Besides, Berrios’ curve has been nearly as good.

After a dismal 2022, Berrios has resembled himself again this season and has been effective with all his pitches. However, his curveball has been his best pitch, thanks to a ton of horizontal movement and a fair bit of swing-and-miss.





J.P. France has had a stellar rookie season for the Astros, who continue to be a starting pitcher factory. France features five above-average pitches, but his cutter stands out. His cutter isn’t fast at just under 87 mph, but it moves a lot, thanks to a ton of spin.

Despite the horizontal movement, France keeps his cutter in the zone 55.7% of the time, generating a 71.5% strike rate.





Kodai Senga has been all the Mets could hope for this year, leading their staff in nearly every category. Senga’s splitter is his bread-and-butter pitch and the best in baseball in terms of PLV.

Opposing hitters have a meager .113 average against it and only make hard contact at a 5.5% rate. And that’s when they make contact at all. Senga generates whiffs on the pitch 60% of the time and has a SwStr% in the 94th percentile.


Scott Youngson

Scott is a SoCal native who, after two decades of fighting L.A. traffic, decided to turn his passion for fantasy sports into a blog - the now-defunct Fantasy Mutant. He currently writes for FantasyPros and Pitcher List and will vehemently defend the validity of the Dodgers' 60-game season championship.

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