Week 19: PLV Weekly

PLV highlights and standouts.

This past offseason, Pitcher List introduced Pitch Level Value, or PLV, a new metric that assesses player performance by grading outcomes relative to the quality of the pitch. If you’re new to it, you can read Nick Pollack’s primer on PLV here.

You’ll find the definitions below. Grades are on a 20-80 scale.

Swing Aggression: How much more often a hitter swings at pitches, given the swing likelihoods of the pitches they face.

Strikezone Judgement: The “correctness” of a hitter’s swings and takes, using the likelihood of a pitch being a called strike (for swings) or a ball/HBP (for takes).

Decision Value (DV): Modeled value (runs per 100 pitches) of a hitter’s decision to swing or take, minus the modeled value of the alternative.

Contact Ability: A hitter’s ability to make contact (foul strike or BIP), above the contact expectation for each pitch.

Power: Modeled number of extra bases (xISO on contact) above a pitch’s expectation, for each BBE.

Hitter Performance (HP): Runs added per 100 pitches seen by the hitter (including swing/take decisions), after accounting for pitch quality.

Pitch Level Value (PLV): Estimated value of all pitches, based on the predicted outcome of those pitches (0-10, 5 is league average).

Pitch Level Average (PLA): Value of all pitches (ERA Scale), using IP and the total predicted run value of pitches thrown.

Pitch type PLA: Value of a given pitch type (ERA scale), using total predicted run values and an IP proxy for that pitch type (pitch usage % x Total IP).

(Note: All stats are current through Thursday, 8/10).


Logan Gilbert


How about Logan Gilbert’s latest outing against the Padres this past Tuesday? He allowed just one hit across seven while punching out a career-high 12 batters. He also became the first RHP to ever hand Juan Soto a golden sombrero. More like Logan Thrillbert.

The outing earned a 5.30 PLV, not his best of the year by that metric; that was way back on April, 18th against the Brewers (5.47 PLV).

However, his slider (20 pitches) earned a remarkable 6.07 PLV / 0.65 PLA. In his previous start against Boston on August 2nd, the slider (38 pitches) was phenomenal again earning a 6.20 PLV / 0.37 PLA. Those are eye-popping scores, so I’ll be very eager to see if he keeps riding this wave. Plus, Nick seems to be a fan of the pitch, too.


CJ Abrams


The 22-year-old shortstop has been tilting the standings in many roto leagues. Since July 1st, he’s hitting .314 with a .852 OPS. And, yes, 19 steals across 34 games.

Last Sunday, he went 4-for-5 with a home run and fell a triple short of the cycle. Abrams is a former top prospect with the Padres, so maybe he’s figuring it all out and this is the big breakout the Nats envisioned when they acquired him.

He’s shown great contact-ability (60) and he also loves to swing although his swing aggression is down a tick this year at 7.3% compared to 9.0% a season ago. PLV still doesn’t like the overall quality of his swings and takes grading his Decision Value at 35, only a modest improvement from last year (30). But it’s been on the rise as the year has gone on.

He’s also shown more power this year (45) compared to last year (40). Good, solid growth that you like to see from a young player.


Matthew Liberatore


I wrote up the DFS article this past Thursday and said a Rays stack might be in order given Liberatore’s struggles. And then, of course, the man impersonated Sandy Koufax: Eight innings, zero earned runs, zero walks, and two hits, all while piling up a season-high seven K’s (31.7% CSW).

The performance earned a 5.18 PLV, easily his best all year as you’d reckon. It was also his first time throwing over 100 pitches this year. I have no idea (clearly!) if it sticks, but it was a legitimately impressive outing judging by the PLV game log: Four of his five pitches earned PLV grades above 5.00.


Cole Ragans


Traded from the Rangers to the Royals in exchange for Aroldis Chapman, Cole Ragans dazzled in Boston giving up just one earned run on four hits while striking out a career-high 11 batters. The outing earned a 5.38 PLV, easily the best of his three this season.

The fastball (34 pitches) was very impressive with a 5.54 PLV / 2.13 PLA. And, really, all of his pitches were. But his slider was astounding. Yes, it was only 12 pitches, so a very, very small sample, but it earned a 6.36 PLV and a -0.10 PLA. The negative PLA is not something you see all that often. I’ve maybe seen it once or twice this year, so after seeing this, I’m tempted to order a Ragans jersey.


Elly De La Cruz


At first blush, I thought De La Cruz’s contact ability might be on the low side considering his 34.2% K rate. But that’s not the case; it’s actually above average (55).

The problem seems to be that he’s just swinging at a ton of bad pitches (20 Decision Value). His 38.8% chase rate (11th percentile) is another way to look at it.

He’s an unbelievable talent, but he’s definitely in the middle of a learning curve right now, so we’ll have to see if he can prove he can lay off pitches out of the zone.


Mike Tauchman


The Sockman has done a fantastic job as the Cubs’ leadoff man and is 11th among qualifiers with a 1.061 OPS over the last month (24 games). Neither his power (45) nor his contact ability (45) stands out, but he’s shown a phenomenal eye. He’s one of just five players (550 pitch minimum) with at least a 70 in SZ Judgement and Decision Value; the others are Mike Trout, Marcus Semien, Brandon Belt, and, yep, you guessed it, Stuart Fairchild.


Chris Taylor


The Dodgers’ longtime utility man is an easy player to overlook, but he’s earned some pretty decent scores this year: A 70 in SZ Judgement, 65 in Decision Value, and a 60 in power. The weak spot is his contact ability (35).


Eloy Jiménez


For whatever reason, be it injuries or a dysfunctional team, I feel fairly certain that we haven’t seen Eloy Jiménez’s peak. So far this season, the results have been mixed; he’s hitting .278 but slugging a somewhat underwhelming .451.

So what’s PLV say? He’s increased his contact ability from 50 to 55. And he’s swinging more often this year (7.0% swing aggression) compared to last year (3.7%) which has led to a big drop in his Decision Value from 55 to 35. However, that’s at least been trending in the right direction lately, along with his overall hitter performance.

His power, though, is down overall from 65 last year to 50 this year and has plummeted lately. Does it come back?


Gavin Williams


The 24-year-old rookie had average-to-slighlty-below-average results through his first eighth starts: A 3.38 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 20.7% K rate, and a 4.89 PLV.

And then this past Monday, Williams got out attention by racking up a dozen strikeouts against the Jays en route to a dominant seven-inning shutout with just one walk and one hit on his ledger. It all earned a 5.20 PLV. His fastball (52 pitches) was terrific and earned a 5.30 PLV / 2.36 PLA. He also showed good command of his slider (20 pitches) which earned a 5.57 PLV / 1.74 PLA, the best we’ve seen from the pitch.

As you can see above, Williams has shown off a pretty decent heater. The slider, though, has lagged behind as a whole, so I’m interested to see if he can replicate the success he had with it in his next start.


Anthony Volpe


Overall, he’s hitting .212 with a .672 OPS so sure it’s underwhelming. But at the same time, 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases are not too shabby either; according to Katie Sharp, Alfonso Soriano is the only other Yankee rookie to do that.

Anyway, we’re seeing some promising trends with him lately, including surges in his contact ability and DV (below), so he could be set to end his rookie season on a big note.


Bobby Witt Jr.


After becoming just the fifth Royal to ever post a 20-20 season, Bobby Witt Jr. is reaching new heights this year. And he’s been a monster lately. He hit his 20th home run this past Friday, tying his total from last season, and his 1.253 OPS over the past 15 days is fifth among qualifiers.

Overall, he’s shown a big bump in power relative to last year (50 to 60). His contact ability is the same as last year (55). However, he’s made notable gains in SZ Judgement (45 to 55) and DV (35 to 45).

The scary part is that his contact ability and power have been climbing to the 90th percentile. Pretty cool to see, that is, unless you’re chasing his team in a roto league or going against him in head-to-head.

I guess the only knock is that he’s an aggressive hitter, so his OBP is a little on the low side. Still, he’s just an unbelievable athlete with a ceiling that’s hard to fathom. The walk-off grand slam against the Twins a couple of weeks ago was one of the most remarkable home runs I’ve ever seen. It was against Jhoan Duran and at 101.8 mph, it was the fifth-fastest pitch hit for a home run in the pitch-tracking era (2008).

Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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