Statcast Update Week 4: Schwarber, Edwin, and Addison

Michael Augustine reviews the week four MLB Statcast studs and duds.

(Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire)

Four weeks of Major League Baseball are in the books so let’s take a look at who was hot and cold last week in terms of Exit Velocity,  Launch Angle and expected metrics, while also reviewing the current top-10 xAVG average and xSLG percentage difference. For those that need a primer on expected hitting metrics, be sure to take a look at Dave Cherman’s excellent article here. Most of the hitters that occupy the top and bottom of Statcast data are your typical names (Aaron Judge, Jose Abreu, Eric Thames, Dee Gordon, etc.) that no one should be surprised at seeing. However, I’ll be taking a look at some hitters who you might expect to see but haven’t lived up to Statcast expectations thus far, as well as the ones you wouldn’t expect to be fairing so poorly. All data reflects hitters with at least 10 at-bats last week.

First, let’s review the top-10 xAVG and xSLG leaders courtesy of Baseball Savant.


 Kyle Schwarber (OF, Chicago Cubs) – After going through an abysmal 5-for-38 slump, Schwarber has already accumulated more hits in the last four games than he did the previous ten. Hitting .438 during that time period, Schwarber was at the top of average exit velocity last week with 99.5 MPH under 13 batted ball events. Here’s a look at his spray chart.


Schwarber’s average Launch Angle is just a touch below 11 degrees. Under those metrics are an expected batting average of .912 with 73% of contact ending as singles. He’s also placing the ball in ideal locations; not pulling the ball or hitting into the shift. Currently, Schwarber sits 24th overall in average EV and has the 19th hardest-hit ball in 2018 (115.7 MPH). His xSLG difference is just .014 lower than it ought to be, so he’s still hitting a little less than expected in terms of power.

Miguel Andujar (3B, New York Yankees) – Andujar is rocking the ball for a guy projected to have (slightly above) average power. Durning last week, he had the 6th-best EV at 97.5 MPH with 18 BBEs. Six of those events resulted in hits traveling 350 feet-plus, all of which had an exit velocity of over 100 MPH. Most of Andujar’s power has come from pitches down and/or away.

In kind, pitchers have attacked Andujar low and away along with the outer mid-zone. As you can see, those locations are producing pretty strong contact. As Andujar has only played 18 MLB games, it would follow that, eventually, pitchers are going to catch on and adjust. It remains to be seen if he can adjust himself or if his power will be resigned to those locations, given the incredibly small sample size we have on Andujar.

Dansby Swanson (SS, Atlanta Braves) – Swanson is finally showing why he was the number one pick in the 2015 MLB draft in the early part of the 2018 season. Like Andujar, Swanson isn’t expected to have big power but he’s hitting strongly in spite of that declaration. Tied for 8th in EV (with Travis Shaw), Swanson averaged 96.9 MPH with two-thirds of his BBEs having positive LA. Despite that, his average LA is in the negative as displayed by his LA chart below.

Furthermore, Swanson’s BABIP is near .500 for the season; impossible to maintain but is he generally lucky or is that the result of his EV? Regardless, given in ball in play data, Swanson has been a standout on a team with some prominent hitters obscuring his results (see: Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies).


Billy Hamilton (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – In the words of Brian Madison, “Oh Billy, Billy boy, when are you going to find whatever it is you are looking for?” Hamiliton again bottoms out our EV leaders last week and while it comes as no surprise, it’s worth noting (keeping company with Wilmer Difo at 72 MPH EV) he’s nearly 6 MPH behind the next highest bottom-feeder (Craig Gentry, 76.8 MPH). Only once in his career has Hamilton broke .100 in ISO, so his low BIP figures are no shock. The worst part isn’t his low EV, it’s his lamentable production in 2018. Hamilton’s hardest-hit ball last week was a 100.4 MPH lineout that traveled 319 feet. All other events weren’t even close to either. What more can you say at this point?

Edwin Encarnacion (3B/DH, Cleveland Indians) – This is somewhat of a surprise because something is clearly off with Encarnacion. His ISO is well below his career average and while he’s on the wrong side of 35, this sudden dropoff is vexing; he’s the 16th-worst (255 out of 240) qualified hitter with an 82.2 EV. Encarnacion is driving the ball at a predictable LA but there is no pop behind it. What’s more, Encarnacion has only accumulated six hits in the last 20 days. Judging by the gif below, you see he’s getting under the ball way too much and that is likely the biggest detriment to his EV woes.

Addison Russell (SS, Chicago Cubs) – Another curious case, as Russell has shown promise with his slugging during past seasons. 19th worst in EV last week, Russell managed an average of 82.6 MPH. His career mark is 87 MPH, while this season its been exactly 86 MPH; not a big change but significant enough.  His xSLG is .313 while managing a paltry .281; even that .313 is well below his career norm. Russell has never been one to hit for average and his current expected metrics are right about where they should be (.230 expected vs. .219 actual). Somewhat good news for Russell is his hard-hit rate is near his career average and he’s hitting the ball more like a spray hitter early this year (~50% centered contact).

Michael Augustine

Going Deep manager for Pitcher List and a contributor to SB Nation's Royals Review and Gaslamp Ball. I've assisted with the roster and scouting development for Out of the Park Baseball since 2016. You can find my pitching 'art' on gfycat (@Augustine_MLB).

2 responses to “Statcast Update Week 4: Schwarber, Edwin, and Addison”

  1. Bob says:

    Edwin has been one of the best hitters in my league (H2H ESPN points) the last two seasons. Finishing 8th overall in 2016 and 14th best in 2017. Based on what you’re seeing is he going to turn it around? Did he just drop off a cliff? This is guy has been so great it’s really hard to believe. He’s always a slow starter so I’m obviously still holding out hope.

    • Michael Augustine says:

      Thanks for the comment, Bob.

      Honestly, when players reach this age, it’s hard to say. Some figure it out, others fall off a cliff. It’s a crapshoot but I would say he won’t be THIS bad all year.

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