Statcast Roundup – Week 8

Digging through Baseball Savant to find trends for players in 2020.

This is the home stretch for the 2020 baseball season with just this week and next week to go. Nothing is going to change from last week to this week in the roundup, so let’s just dive right into the Statcast data.




Statcast Rolling xwOBA Leaders For Last 50 PA


Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels — Walsh has been playing out of his mind over his last 50 PAs with SEVEN home runs in the month of September, paired with a .422 average, and that’s not even a crazy overperformance since he has a .345 xBA. What’s extremely interesting is he posting batted balls numbers similar to this in his 2019 stint in the majors but the results were nowhere near as productive as this. He had a higher barrel rate last season and yet only hit one home run across 44 batted balls compared to the seven homers over 55 batted balls. The largest stride he’s taken at the plate is cutting his strikeout rate down to an incredible 14% after he struck out nearly 40% of the time last season. Walsh is only rostered in 39% of ESPN leagues, and virtually all of that came in the last week.

Willi Castro, Detroit Tigers — Castro is on an extremely hot stretch for the Tigers with a .365 average and three homers in the month of September. While his hard-hit rate is in a similar ballpark to the rest of the season, we’ve seen a barrel spark in the last two weeks with four of his seven barrels for the season coming in that stretch. He’s still striking out at his similar rates compared to the rest of the season, but his contact right now is significantly better than his first 40+ plate appearances for the season.

Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox — Robert has had a very successful rookie season, but things have slowed down mightily in the month of September. He’s hitting just .136 for the month and his hard-hit rate has plummeted to 17% and he has just six hits for the month and only one has gone for extra bases. Robert is always going to strike out a ton so he needs to rely on making consistent hard contact, and when that doesn’t happen we could easily see stretches like this. He’s still striking out at a 31% rate for the season and his overall slash line has dropped down to .251/.314/.497, certainly usable in fantasy especially when it comes with 11 homers and eight stolen bases but just not top of the line excellence like he was in July and August.

Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros — Another rookie who is having a good overall season, but is in the midst of a tough stretch. Tucker is hitting just .208 in September but is still running a 40% hard-hit rate and only striking out 18% of the time. So unlike Robert, Tucker is still doing things at the plate that we like to see. His 40% hard-hit rate for September is still the lowest he’s posted this season for any given month, and he’s hitting fly balls at the highest rate of the season as well so the two combined could contribute why he’s in a bit of a dry spell at the plate.

Statcast Rolling xwOBA Leaders For Last 100 PA


Lourdes Guriel Jr, Toronto Blue Jays — Gurriel entered 2020 with a lot of hype surrounding him potentially becoming a breakout player, and he’s showing some extreme signs of that in September. Gurriel is posting a 60% hard-hit rate for the month of September and he has a .390 xBA. He has four homers for the month, nearly half of his total for the entire season coming within the last two weeks. He’s extremely hot right now, and still out there in 12% of the ESPN leagues right now so there’s at least some chance he’s still floating out there. 

Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels — Stassi has been getting a decent chunk of playing time lately for the Angels and he’s producing at an exceptional level while out on the field. He’s hitting .304 for the month and has a .341 xBA, and his hard-hit rate is 40% for the month. He’s cut down his K% over this stretch as well down to just 13%, significantly lower than the 30% rate that we’ve typically seen from him. Stassi is rostered in just 7.5% of ESPN leagues and catching is generally a complete dearth at the position, so any time there’s a catcher on a heater it’s worth looking his way.

Nate Lowe, Tampa Bays Rays — So some of these numbers for Lowe date back to his struggles at the end of last season, but he’s worth highlighting at this point because he’s getting consistent playtime for the Rays lately. I’m as shocked as you are. Lowe is only hitting .235 for the team but he’s homered three times in the last week and he’s running a 44% hard-hit rate. He’s also walking in nearly 20% of his plate appearances for the month, though on the opposite end of the spectrum he’s striking out in nearly 40% of his plate appearances. Lowe has shown strong minor league numbers over the past few seasons but he hasn’t gotten the chance for regular playing time in the majors so far. 

Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies — Hampson, the fantasy community’s favorite player who just needs at-bats. Well, he’s getting at-bats and things aren’t pretty. For September he’s running a .250 average but only a .189 xBA with a 29% hard-hit rate. This isn’t new, either, as both his xBA (34th) and hard-hit rate (2nd) are well below the league average percentiles. Despite the awful hard-hit rate, his barrel rate is actually above average and he is posting some solid counting numbers with five homers and his blazing speed helps contribute to his four stolen bases. Hampson was a key piece in the stretch run last season for fantasy, but I think he needs to stay on the bench now.




Statcast Rolling xwOBA Leaders For Last 50 PA


Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs — Don’t look now, but Kimbrel is really good again. In the month of September, he’s running a 55% strikeout rate along with a .150 xBA, and he hasn’t walked any of the 20 batters that he’s faced this month. He even picked up a save this last week, something he hasn’t done much of this year. His fastball has been performing significantly better with a 33% hard contact rate against it compared to 80% and 71% over the first two months of the season. Batters are also chasing his fastball a bit more than previously. It doesn’t seem like he’s back to being the closer, but he could provide some ratios over the last week of the season.

Josh Tomlin, Atlanta Braves — Tomlin is an interesting case for the Braves, and his fantasy value dips as he likely is out of the rotation with the team recalling Kyle Wright and activation of Cole Hamels. Tomlin has a .248 xBA against him for the month with and has a solid hard-hit rate, but while his barrel rate has dropped this month he’s still allowing a barrel rate around 10%. His strikeout rate has also dropped down to 14% in September and his whiff rate is down to 17%. While his xwOBA change has him sitting on the positive side of things, I’m not adding him for the last week of the season.

Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners — While Walker’s stint in Toronto looks nice with his 1-1 record and a 1.56 ERA… under the hood it’s not great. Walker’s strikeout rate has dropped by 6% and his walk rate has shot up to 11% while running a similar 30% hard-hit rate across the two teams. His ERA is suppressed because after a 7-run outing against the Yankees last time out, as he was charged with only one earned run yet allowed two homers and six hits. This isn’t someone I’m super comfortable with starting over the next week.

Statcast Rolling xwOBA Leaders For Last 100 PA


Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers — Buehler for some reason went away from his fastball at the beginning of 2020 and his results were poor, and then he went back to his fastball his season completely took off. From August 1st until today .221 xBA against him with a K% just shy of 30%. Buehler is closing in on a return to the Dodgers from his IL stint and the team is expecting him to make one more start before the season comes to a close. If anyone looks at his 3.86 ERA for the season and you can gain any sort discount in 2021 drafts/dynasty/or keeper leagues, jump on it.

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers — Any time I can write about Burnes, I’m going to do it. While he’s been fantastic all season, he’s taken it to another level in September. Burnes is running a K% over 40% and he has an xBA of .202 while walking just 7% of the batters he has faced. He’s yet to allow a homer this month and he has allowed just two extra-base hits across three starts.

Jack Flaherty, St Louis Cardinals — Flaherty shows up on this list, but so much of it comes from a disastrous outing last time out against Milwaukee where he allowed nine runs over three innings. Leading up to this outing he had 3.08 ERA 25% K% to go with a .196 average against him. In 2020 he hasn’t quite been what he was over the second half of last season, but he has still been an excellent start and should continue to be so going forward.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm)

Josh Sperry

General fantasy writer and an avid Atlanta Braves fan who is desperately trying to forget the fact that the Braves gave up 10 runs in the first inning of game five of the 2019 NLDS.

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