Statcast Update Week 3: Hanley, Hamilton, and Garcia

Dave Cherman takes a look at the hot and cold hitters in terms of batted ball data thus far in 2018.

(Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire)

This article will present a few players who are hitting the ball well and some who are not thus far in the season. I’m going to discuss these players in terms of their Statcast or batted ball data through the lens of a few major stats: Launch Angle, Exit Velocity, and expected statistics through baseball savant and xStats that estimate a player’s true stats by using this batted ball data. If you want to learn more about how xStats work, check out my article here.

Red Hot

Hanley Ramirez (1B, Boston Red Sox)– If you haven’t been paying attention, HanRam looks like he’s back. He had the sixth highest Average EV last week at a stellar 97.6 mph and he only had one batted ball under 80mph. HanRam also sits 15th in avg EV on the season. That’s a guy who is locked in. Health has been holding him back in recent years, but if he is truly healthy, he can be a top 10 1B the rest of the way. Check out how quickly this homer off Masahiro Tanaka got out of the yard (granted it was belt high and right down the middle).

[gfycat data_id=”HappyCarefreeBlackfly”]

Franchy Cordero (OF, San Diego Padres)– Only one hitter had a higher average EV over the last week than Franchy’s 99.5 mph (Aaron Judge). I’m so excited he’s been good because he’s got one of the best names in baseball. He had two batted balls over 115mph last week… unfortunately both were grounders to second base. They sit as the 19th and 23rd hardest hit balls this season, but neither resulted in a hit (though the second one was hit so hard that Joe Panik bobbled it) When we look closer, that rank drops to 18th on fly balls and line drives, which tells us his real EV prowess is on ground balls, which is marginally worse but still excellent. I still don’t expect him to get regular playing time once Myers and Margot come back, but he’s a lot of fun and could fight Jose Pirela for the 4th OF spot in San Diego.

Avisail Garcia (OF, Chicago White Sox)– Most of my excitement for him is this tweet. Did I just cite my own tweet? I did. Garcia is 19th in avg EV so far, which makes me very excited, as he needs to hit the ball hard to match last season’s production. He’s hitting a lot of balls on the ground, but I’m not worried yet. I intend to do a deeper dive into his swing mechanics and see if there’s something under the hood that we’re missing. xStats says he is matching last year’s production, but the stats haven’t followed yet. Keep the faith in Avisail and you shall be rewarded.

I’d also like to mention that Robinson Chirinos had the 37th highest average EV this past week after I mentioned him in the slow starters last week. Good to see it, Robby. Can I call you, Robby? I’m gonna call you Robby.

Ice Cold

Billy Hamilton (OF, Cincinnati Reds)– Aka “Air Bud”. Why? Because he’s faster than pretty much everyone out there, but when you watch him play, you can’t help but wonder why he’s taking up a roster spot. Ben Palmer will remind me until the end of time that Hamilton hit a HR on Sunday night to win our matchup, but it doesn’t suddenly make Hamilton a good player. He’s dead last in average EV on the season and 3rd to last over the last week (Jonathan Villar and Paul DeJong). How bad is it? Franchy Cordero’s softest hit ball from last week was harder than Billy Hamilton’s average batted ball. Granted, he doesn’t need to hit the ball hard to succeed, but he’s gotta do more to get on base. As long as he’s not making the defense work, it’s going to be more and more difficult for him to get on and do the one thing he does well.

Ender Inciarte (OF, Atlanta Braves)– For a brief period this offseason, we were wondering if he was the true centerpiece of the Shelby Miller-for-Dansby Swanson deal. Swanson is playing well so far, but Inciarte just isn’t. If you drafted him, it was probably in the top 150 and you were likely chasing his 10/25 HR/SB potential with the ability to hit for a .300 AVG. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I just don’t think Inciarte will do it. Maybe the steals, but not the power or average. He’s near the bottom of the league in EV, just like last year. He outperformed his xStats by about 40 points in both average and slugging last year and this year, he’s paying the price. I see him as a lesser Billy Hamilton. An Air Bud Light if you will.

Jonathan Lucroy (C, Oakland Athletics)– I’ve been preaching the declining bat and glove of Jonathan Lucroy for a while now, and yet, some still believe, as he’s owned in 65% of Yahoo leagues and 46% of ESPN leagues. He ranks 166th out of 194 hitters with at least 30 PAs so far this year in Exit Velocity, about half a MPH lower than last year. Without a significant change in underlying data, it’s time to give up hope that Lucroy will ever return to his old Milwaukee self. And to think, the Indians almost gave up Francisco Mejia for him.

Dave Cherman

Across the Seams Manager, also a former player and umpire and New York-based lawyer who spends his free time studying advanced statistics and obsessing over fantasy trades. Will debate with you about most anything.

3 responses to “Statcast Update Week 3: Hanley, Hamilton, and Garcia”

  1. Orlando Munoz says:

    Great article. Had me laughing. Im so happy Hanley is back!! Baseball feels better with him being a force.

    • Dave Cherman says:

      Glad I could make you laugh! I’m trying to incorporate a little more humor into my articles. If I can get the nickname Air Bud to catch on for Billy Hamilton, my fantasy writing career will be a success.

  2. Kyle says:

    Time to drop Inciarte?

    Options: Villenueva, Lowrie, Dickerson?

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