Statcast Roundup – Week Five

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

Welcome to week five of the Statcast Roundup! A small few tweaks to the leaderboard criteria this week as both batters (50 PAs) and pitchers (75 PAs) will have adjusted minimums to pop up on the boards. This helps keep primarily pitchers on the pitching boards and keep the sample size fairly large for the hitters to avoid any noise (though we will dive into one batter that is on the boards when looking at 25 PAs).

P.S. – If you’re looking for excellent reliever analysis, check out the Streaming RP series that comes out every day.

Time to dive in!

Top Performers

MLB Leaders in xwOBA (Min. 50 PA)

Paul Goldschmidt, St Louis Cardinals – A few weeks back I highlighted Goldschmidt when he popped up on the over-achievers board because while his numbers were good over the first week, his batted ball profile behind them was looking rough. The sample size though was incredibly small as the Cardinals had played just five games due to their COVID-19 outbreak on the team. I said that this could either be small-sample-size noise or potentially the start of a decline for Goldschmidt. I”m happy to say it’s the former. His batted ball profile still isn’t top of the line good, but his hard-hit rate is at 58% and his barrel rate has jumped up to 61%. His xwOBA is in the 97th percentile, as shown on the leaderboard, and he’s done a better job at chasing pitches out of the zone with the rate dropping to 22%. 

Austin Slater, San Francisco Giants – Slater has been on an absolute tear for the Giants with a .347/.458/.653 triple-slash to go with four homers and six stolen bases, though he’s currently on the IL with a groin strain. His hard-hit rate has been slightly down compared to last season, but his barrel rate has jumped up to 16% and he’s shaved his K% down from 30% to 22%. The K% drop can be attributed to his sub-20% chase rate while also making contact on 65% of the pitches out of the zone. His LD% has also SKYROCKETED up to 47% compared to the 28% he was at last season.

Brad MillerSt Louis Cardinals -I mentioned that one person would be highlighted who doesn’t quite meet the 50 PA threshold, and here it is. Miller (49 PAs) has gotten an extended run of playing time for the Cardinals recently and is absolutely blistering the baseball with a 56.7% hard-hit rate and a  ridiculous .501 xwoBA, which as you can see puts him only behind Juan SotoSolid company. Miller owns a 16.7% barrel rate and has a 16.3% walk-rate, and despite a whiff rate that’s in the 13th percentile for the league, he’s striking out just 20.4% of the time. Those two numbers should start to close a bit as the season goes on, but his level of contact is so good right now that I’m not super concerned with the regression there.

Over-Achievers – Batters

Highest wOBA-xwOBA (Min. 50 PA)

Cedric MullinsBaltimore Orioles – Mullins has been playing well for the Orioles posting a .280/.333/.360 slash line but under the hood, it isn’t exactly glowing. Mullins owns just a 24.3% hard-hit rate for the season and his K% has jumped up to 25% compared to the 19% that it was at last season. Mullins’ speed is one of his best assets as he ranks in the 88th percentile for sprint speed and has three stolen bases this year already, but the strikeouts combined with soft contact (24.3% weak batted ball rate) make it tough for him to put his above-average speed to use. He’s also popping up 16% of his batted balls, which is the icing on the cake for how mediocre he’s been swinging the bat this year.

Mitch MorelandBoston Red Sox – While Moreland shows up on the list as an over-performer, some weeks there are players on here that are slightly over-performing but still have stats that back up their outstanding batting lines. Moreland is slashing .350/.458/.817 with eight homers and 20 RBI. His hard-hit rate places him in the 82nd percentile and he’s actually gotten more selective at the plate this year. His zone-swing rate is down by 6% and his contact rate has only dropped by 2% while seeing a boost in the quality of contact that is made. His xSLG is .669 which is among the top 2% in all of baseball.

Under-Achievers – Hitters

Lowest wOBA-xwOBA (Min. 50 PA)


Dylan CarlsonSt Louis Cardinals – Carlson hasn’t gotten off to the hottest start for his major league career, but we’re seeing some strides at the plate fueled by better contact. Carlson has picked up a hit in four straight games and that’s helped him get up average up to .180, but his hard-hit rate over that span is 34% and he all three of his barrels have come in that span. Even if his xwOBA is only .329 for the season, one of baseball’s top prospects is looking better at the plate in recent days and that’s something to watch.

Under-Performers – Pitchers

Highest wOBA-xwOBA (Min. 50 batters faced)

Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds – Castillo has a perfectly fine 3.62 ERA over six starts but things could be so much better than that. His xwOBA against him is at .265 while his actual wOBA is at .308 and his hard-hit rate against him is the lowest it has been since his rookie year. Castillo’s K% is also a career-high for the righty while posting a whiff rate in the 90th percentile. Castillo has dominated the month of August with a 3.10 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 20.1 innings and two of his outings for the month were 6.0 innings while just allowing a single run. Castillo is great, but things could be even better, and that’s even before factoring in the fact hasn’t picked up a win any of his six starts. Though that only really matters for fantasy purposes.

Zach EflinPhiladelphia Phillies – Eflin’s has a 5.12 ERA this year, but there’s a lot of room for optimism regarding the righty. He has 29 strikeouts over 19.1 innings and his 1.55 WHIP is due in large part to a BABIP over .400 against him while batters are only making solid contact against him 2% of the time based on Baseball Savant’s batted ball profile which factors in exit velocity and launch angle. The amount of weak contact he’s generating leads to an xBA in the 90th percentile while his actual BA against sits just under .280. There’s a lot of interesting things going on here, though I may hold off on throwing him out there against a Braves lineup this weekend that is getting healthier, facing the Nats and then Boston his next two times out could be worth streaming.

Over-Performers – Pitchers



Alex Cobb, Baltimore Orioles – If you’re a fantasy player holding onto Cobb, please try and jump ship. I have no idea how this profile holds up. Cobb is getting hit extremely hard (45% hard-hit rate) and he’s not missing many bats (16% K%). Somehow someway he’s been able to be fantasy relevant so far though with a solid 3.73 ERA. Cobb has just 22 strikeouts for the season and 13 of those came across two starts (10.1 IP) with one coming against the Red Sox and one against the Marlins. Over the other 21 innings, he’s thrown though he has just nine strikeouts and has given up 11 runs in that span.

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers – Burnes has taken some great strides in 2020 as he’s actually been a solid pitcher for the Brewers this year after posting an ERA north of nine in 2019. Burnes has a 3.42 ERA but hasn’t factored into a decision yet for Milwaukee. Starting with the good, Burnes is generating whiffs and strikeouts at an outstanding rate and his spin rates on his pitches are matching the excellent numbers that he posted last season, most of those helping contribute to the preseason hype surrounding him. The bad though is he’s been hit hard when batters can make contact. His hard-hit rate against him sits at 43.6% and could be attributed to him a lot of his fastballs sitting in the heart of the zone… when they are in the zone that is. Most of Burnes’s fastball register as cutters or sinkers and batters are posting a wOBA around .330 against the two offerings, while his changeup (.221) curveball (.000), and slider (.077) all have wOBAs south of .100.


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.

2 responses to “Statcast Roundup – Week Five”

  1. Magnus says:

    Do you expect C Burnes will start regressing tonight? Would you start Josh Bell tonight?

    • Josh Sperry says:

      Thanks for reading! I still really like Burnes over the rest of the season, and tonight as well because the Pirates are just dreadful, but there’s definitely going to be a lot of volatility to him. It’s mainly going to come down to his fastball command and if he can stop throwing it in the heart of the plate. I’d probably hold off on Bell tonight, with his chase rates and swing and miss trends Burnes is a tough matchup between stuff and his general wildness.

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