Statcast Update Week 6: A Tandem of Mariners and Joey’s

Michael Augustine reports on last week's Statcast risers and fallers with one hitter having particularly bad luck.

 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

Now six weeks into the Major League Baseball season, divisions are starting to take shape and players are starting to settle into their own. We are starting to distance ourselves from the dreaded sample size trap and numbers will soon be stabilizing. Its that time of the week, so here are the hottest and coldest Statcast performers, with at least 10 at-bats, covering the past week of baseball.

The current xStat leaders are basically an entirely different group from last week. We see a couple of familiar names as well as players like Yadier Molina and Carlos Santana appearing on both the xAVG and xSLG categories.


Joey Gallo (1B/3B, Texas Rangers) – Gallo is still striking out close to once every three at-bats but despite that, he’s carrying a strong .354 wOBA. He’s also hammering the ball. Last week, Gallo averaged a 101.1 MPH exit velocity. He hit two home runs last night off Eduardo Rodriguez, with EVs clocked at 104.6 and 116.8 MPH; the latter demonstrated below.

[gfycat data_id=”LankyPreciousApe”]

Nine of Gallo’s 13 batted ball events left his bat at 100 MPH plus, five of which ended up as hits, four were home runs. Gallo is doing Gallo things this year so outside of his strong week, nothing surprising in terms of Gallo’s production for the Rangers.

Joey Votto (1B, Cincinnati Reds) – Votto started off with a whimper and has suddenly turned into a bang; he’s been hitting very well lately and his xStats are showing he could be even better than he already is. Votto fantasy owners should be overjoyed that he’s turned this corner. This past week, a slash line of .381/.409/.667 is undeniably very Votto-esque numbers. How has he been hitting the ball? He was lumped in with six other hitters belonging to the 97 MPH-plus EV club (fifth overall of the EV leaders). See the graphic below for a detailed view of what Votto saw last week and what he hit.

Again, very Votto; he rarely swung out of the zone and even took some pitches that were definitely balls but were called as strikes. Votto is who we think he is, an elite hitter who just had to take some extra time to adjust.

Dee Gordon (2B/SS/OF, Seattle Mariners) – Question. Does the following spray chart look like someone who hit .500 last week? Someone who had an OPS of more than 1.000?

Well, it is what it is. And it belongs to Gordon; no one was even close to the output difference in batting average last week. His .278 xBA difference was way ahead of everyone else last week. Speed likely has a lot to do with the, pardon the slight, luck that Gordon had. While he didn’t have the highest batting average last week (that belonged to Nick Hundley with a .636 BA). Besides his output, Gordon didn’t necessarily do anything spectacular in terms of contact, he just played way over his head and he has the propensity to do that from time to time. His metrics ranged from a 100.1 MPH single to a 40 MPH (bunted) single to opposing pitcher Andrew Triggs.


Willson Contreras (C, Chicago Cubs) – This past week was a bad one all around for the Cubs, culminating in a sweep by the division rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs could have used Contreras’s help. His EV was one of the lowest last week, averaging 79 MPH. For a guy who can launch hits, it was troubling considering half of his batted ball events managed no more than 80 MPH. What you’re about to see may be troubling to some viewers; discretion is advised.

While I don’t consider Contreras a power hitter, that’s still not a good look for a guy who has all the potential to be. He hit an embarrassing .053 and, of no consolation, was expected to hit .127. You could call him an underachiever this week but even that might be too kind.

Miguel Andujar (3B, New York Yankees) – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Andujar was tearing the cover off the ball to start 2018 but has fallen off a cliff in terms of production. His contact is likely the biggest culprit. Andujar had the fourth-lowest EV last week; managing only an average of 78 MPH which is over 10 MPH lower than his season average. Prior to the underachieving week he just had, Andujar was slugging over .600. He currently sits at a decent .491 due to the abysmal .217 he slugged the last several days. Andujar was all the rage for a while in certain fantasy baseball circles; undervalued and hyped by a tremendous spring training. Even more disheartening for Andujar is he hit right were he was expected to; his .192 batting average was just .005 off from his xBA. I’ll take a bit of mercy on Andujar and end it here, without any chart, mainly because he isn’t going to continue to be this bad of a hitter.

Robinson Cano (2B, Seattle Mariners) – wOBA is one of the best ways to see total on-base production of a hitter. Its a valuable tool for us baseball geeks. Which brings us to Cano; he produced a .202 wOBA last week while Statcast expected it to be more like .529. The odd thing is there isn’t any reason that doesn’t have to do with just plan bad luck. To further emphizie that, his xBA was .386, giving him a difference of -.219 compared to his actual average. His EV was right where it ought to be at 95 MPH. As you can see by the radial chart below, he even made great contact with the exception of his propensity to top pitches.

While I have nothing to really get on Cano about, its still hard to ignore the difference in his expected output. If I could, I’d have created a section strictly for the unluckiest hitters of the week. Cano could be the standard bearer with the week he just had.

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).

6 responses to “Statcast Update Week 6: A Tandem of Mariners and Joey’s”

  1. Hank Chen says:

    Thanks for another awesome article! There is one thing that confuses me: Are the signs in the table flipped? I am assuming you listed players whose xSLG and xAVG are greater than their SLG and AVG and hence the values in the first column should be positive?

    • Dave Cherman says:

      Yeah, I can see how that’s confusing. That’s my fault, as I gave Michael the chart to use and had negatives in it initially. I felt it better showed that the number represented how far below their xAVG/xSLG the player is and worried that some would see the reverse that you’re seeing if we listed them positive. But maybe you’re right.

  2. Michael Augustine says:

    Thanks for reading, Henry!

    The guys in the first chart are hitting below their xBA/#SLG.

    • Hank Chen says:

      Thanks for the response! I would probably make the signs positive if the players you showed are the ones whose xAVG are higher than their AVG (given that the column was labeled xAVG – AVG). Anyway…it’s not a big deal.

  3. Steve says:

    Hey Michael,

    Really great post. Just one thing, the category labeled xAVG-AVG is mislabeled (same with xSLG-SLG), because for those equations to be negative (like the #s in the column) the AVG would have to be HIGHER than the xAVG (small number – bigger number = negative number).

    I believe the categories should be labeled AVG-xAVG and SLG-xSLG if you want to produce negative numbers. Either that or the numbers in the column should be positive.

    For example, Carlos Santana’s xAVG is .255, his AVG is .169, so his xAVG-AVG = .86, not -.86

    Thanks again for this great article!

    • Dave Cherman says:

      Yeah, I can see how that’s confusing. That’s my fault, as I gave Michael the chart to use and had negatives in it initially. I felt it better showed that the number represented how far below their xAVG/xSLG the player is and worried that some would see the reverse that you’re seeing if we listed them positive. But maybe you’re right.

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