PLV Weekly: Scouting Slumping Stars

Using PLV to scout slumping stars

The PLV report is back for another season. Here, we’ll use the PLV metrics to contextualize player performance. For example, which hitters are making sound swing decisions, i.e., swinging at good pitches to hit as indicated by decision value (DV) and vice versa? Or who is hitting for more (or less) power? Or showing gains in contact? If you’re unfamiliar with PLV, be sure to check out Nick’s PLV primer from last year. Note that PLV metrics are normalized to 100, and Decision Value (DV) has been further broken down into oDV and zDV, referring to swing decisions outside the zone and inside the zone, respectively.

When your star hitter doesn’t do much after a week, it’s no sweat. Two weeks? Meh. A month into the season on the other hand? Yeah, that’s when I think things start to become dicey. This week we’ll peek at some stars off to slow starts and see if we can better understand what’s going on. Generally speaking, 400 pitches faced, 200 swings, and 75 BBE are the benchmarks for when things start to solidify, i.e., more signal than noise. Swing aggression stabilizes quickly, so we can feel good about that right now. Other sample sizes aren’t quite perfect across the board yet, but we’re slowly approaching a reasonable baseline.

Note: PLV metrics listed are current through Monday, April, 29th.


Corbin Carroll


The not-so-good news is his average EV, which has plummeted from 88.4 to 83.5 (MLB Average is 88.3). Granted, average EV isn’t terribly useful by itself, but a drop that precipitous is almost impossible to ignore. Sure enough, PLV charts his power at 91, almost a standard deviation below last year’s 105.

Carroll’s missing power has been one of the season’s biggest mysteries, with the popular narrative pointing to lingering effects from the shoulder injury he sustained on July 7th. Whether there’s truth to that is anyone’s guess, however, there’s no disputing his declining power. It could certainly come back up but the sample size of 83 BBE isn’t something we can completely ignore either.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr.


Let’s look at another son of a former player who also plays north of the border. Bichette is hitting .210 and his .256 wOBA is 23rd among qualified SS. Bichette’s elite contact ability remains intact and he’s been a touch less aggressive this year with a 5.7% swing aggression compared to 7.5% last year. However, the main difference is that his power has been decidedly below average at 89 compared to 103 last year. A potential silver lining might be that his DV, while still below average at 89, is better than last year’s 81.


Torres has been about as steady of a 2B as you could ask for but he still hasn’t gone yard and is hitting .228 with a K rate of 24% compared to last year’s 14%. He has demonstrated exemplary swing decisions, as his oDV and zDV are about a standard deviation above average. His overall DV of 121 is even better than the 116 he had last year. But, his contact ability has fallen dramatically from 102 to 82. His power has dried up too from 106 to 87. Torres is only 27 with a sizable track record, so I don’t think him bouncing back would be surprising. Still, the dips in power and contact are awfully hard to ignore.


Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

One response to “PLV Weekly: Scouting Slumping Stars”

  1. Sweet Chin Music says:

    This is a great article. I’ve been scouring the internet for someone to explain what’s happening to Spencer Torkleson. He seemed to figure things out last year, swatting 30+ HRs, but he has failed to hit a single HR this season and his statcast page is filled with blue. His average EV is way low. What’s going on?

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