Statcast Roundup – Week Three

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


Welcome to week three of the Statcast Roundup! Nothing major changed in the stats under focus this week, mostly just a little consolidation on the charts below and eliminating some of the crossover. The only other change this week was the minimum for batter’s faced was set at 50 now that we’ve been through most rotations three times already. This will give us primarily starters in the under/over-performers, which is what most people are searching for on a weekly basis anyways.

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

Now let’s dive in.

MLB Leaders in xwOBA (Stats as of 8/13)

Another Roundup, another week where Corey Seager sits atop of the leaderboard. His back is causing him issues now though and injuries have plagued him the last few seasons. A new name on the overall leaderboard is Jake Cronenworth who has shot to the second spot on the xwOBA leaderboard. He’s been playing first base while Eric Hosmer was out of the lineup and has seen some time at second base as well.

Under-Performers – Hitters


Lowest wOBA-xwOBA in MLB (Stats as of 8/13)

Will Smith (C Los Angeles Dodgers) – So I know I wrote about Smith in week one of the Statcast Roundups already, but goodness his profile is still so excellent I’m going to highlight it again. Smith is sitting in the 83rd percentile for Hard Hit % and 13 of his 28 batted balls have been hit over 95 MPH. Even with all that hard contact, all Smith has to show for it is a .188/..341/.406 triple slash. His OBP is over 150 points higher than his average thanks to a 15% walk rate against just a 12% strikeout rate, and both figures leave Smith in the top 10% in the league for each metric.

We typically use “Dodger-itis” in regards to the team’s rotation, but the Dodgers are certainly going to use both Smith and Austin Barnes on a regular basis which will cut into some of the counting stats upside for Smith.

Erik Gonzalez (SS Pittsburgh Pirates) – A new name that popped into the leaderboards this week is Gonzalez. He’s been getting regular playing time lately rotating between shortstop and third base, and has been performing well in those spots. Gonzalez has been crushing the ball with a 96th percentile hard hit rate and his xwOBA and xBA are both sitting in the 99th and 98th percentiles respectively. His barrel rate is up 7% from last season, now sitting at 12%, and he’s posting a xSLG that’s nearly .400 points higher than his career average. Gonzalez had a stretch somewhat similar back in 2017 where he had a 9% barrel rate and a .309 xwOBA, but we’ve never seen him do anything quite like this.

Over-Performers -Hitters


Highest wOBA-xwOBA in MLB (Stats as of 8/13)

Paul Goldschmidt (1B St. Louis Cardinals) – There’s hope that the Cardinals will be able to return to action this weekend after having played just five games this season due to COVID-19. With that we’ll see what happens with Goldschmidt as his traditional numbers are off to a strong start (.316/..381/.474), but his metrics under the hood don’t paint nearly the same picture.

Through 19 at-bats he has a 19th percentile hard hit rate and his xwOBA is jut .281. Goldschmidt wasn’t the five category fantasy start he used to be last year, but he ultimately still finished with 34 homers and drove in 97 runs. The small sample size of 19 at-bats can roll both ways as there’s not enough time for low numbers to stabilize at a normal level and there also is a chance that numbers can be extremely loud early before lowering to a normal level, so we’ll have to hope the former is true for Goldschmidt as the Cardinals return to play.

Daniel Murphy (INF Colorado Rockies) – Murphy is off to an extremely strong start for the Rockies with a .358/.393/.566 triple slash with three homers and 13 RBI. Murphy has been one of the most consistent pure hitters but we’ve now see the third straight season of a declining hard hit rate for him. His barrel rate is up by around 8% compared to last season so he is at least barreling the ball well, but it’s the in-between high end and low end contact that’s been missing so far.


Over-Performers – Pitchers

Lowest wOBA-xwOBA in MLB (Minimum 50 PA)


Erik Fedde (Washington Nationals) – Fedde owns a 3.65 ERA over 12.1 innings for the Nationals, but things looks so much worse than that when you start looking into his metrics. Fedde ranks in the 14th percentile in hard hit rate while also sitting in the 3rd percentile for strikeouts…. So he’s getting hit extremely hard and hasn’t been able to generate whiffs at a solid rate. Not exactly something I’m looking to roster at this point in the season. Fedde is currently throwing in relief for the Nationals, but if he does get a spot back in the rotation at any point I’m not exactly rushing to roster him.

Dallas Kuechel (Chicago White Sox) – Keuchel’s metrics under the hood don’t look too awful, but his declining strikeout rate is going to make him yet again someone who’s going to have to rely on a solid wOBAcon to give him success. Kuechel’s hard hit rate is down again this year after seeing a jump to almost 40% as a member of the Braves last season. He’s generating a 25% whiff rate this year so we could see a small uptick in his K%, as last year he at least was at an 18% K% despite a whiff rate a few ticks lower than that.



Under-Performers – Pitchers

Highest wOBA-xwOBA in MLB (Minimum 50 PA)


Anibal Sanchez (Washington Nationals) – Sanchez has a 9.69 ERA over three starts for the Nationals, but his stats under the hood look significantly better than Fedde who I dug into above. Sanchez is posting a league average hard hit rate, and is generating whiffs at a slightly above average rate for the year. He’s definitely getting hit harder than he did last season, but that’s about all that’s significantly different at this point. His hard hit rate is up just 5% compared to last season, his barrel rate is up just 2%, but the big change is coming from a 11° jump in his average launch angle compared to last season. With most of his metrics looking similar under the hood I’d still give Sanchez a look in the right spots to stream, not all is lost here.

Tyler Mahle (Cincinnati Reds) – Unfortunately Mahle was just moved back out of the rotation despite throwing extremely well this year. Mahle’s Baseball Savant rankings is red in every category, with K% being the lowest and still sitting in the 53rd percentile. Michael Ajeto had an excellent writeup about Mahle in a Going Deep article “Tyler Mahle Is Rolling” about the change in Mahle’s mechanics that could be leading to his success this year. If Mahle get’s another stab at the rotation this year he should definitely be worth considering picking up.


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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