Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Desert Island Hitter Metrics: Barrels, Walks, and Strikeouts

Vinnie Pasquantino fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB prospects waiver wire pickups

Barrels, walks, and strikeouts are three important indicators of hitting talent.

Previous research by the Baseball Data Machine Learning team has found that a simple metric that sums barrels and walks and subtracts strikeouts, and then divides by plate appearances, offers a good starting point for evaluating a hitter’s talent.

This article builds on that idea, looking at barrels, walks, and strikeouts to consider hitter outlooks for the rest of 2022.

Featured Promo: Want a free RotoBaller Premium Pass? Check out these sports betting promo offers from the top sportsbooks! All new sign-ups get a free bonus offer on their first deposit, and a free year of RotoBaller's Premium Pass for all sports ($450 value)! Sign Up Now!


Establishing an improved metric for barrels, strikeouts, walks

To start, I pulled data from Baseball Savant from 2015 to 2022, looking at season pairs where a hitter received a minimum of 90 plate appearances in adjacent seasons. This left me with a sample of 2,342 hitters. The correlation between barrels plus walks minus strikeouts per plate appearance in season one and wOBA in season two is .29 for this sample (note: wOBA is an all-encompassing metric of hitter talent, so new metrics of hitter talent might reasonably hope to have a strong correlation with wOBA).

For reference, the correlation between wOBA in season one and wOBA in season two is .38 for this sample (generally, metrics can be expected to have a strong correlation to themselves in the future relative to other metrics). Barrel plus walks minus strikeouts is a solid proxy of hitter talent then, but significantly lagging wOBA.

If, instead of simply summing walks and barrels and subtracting strikeouts, I assign weights to walks, barrels, and strikeouts generated from regressing season two wOBA on the three components, the correlation between the barrels-walks-strikeouts metric (henceforth BWS, because everyone loves a convoluted acronym, and I don't believe BWS has any pre-established negative connotations) and wOBA improves significantly. The optimal weights to maximize the predictive power of BWS in this sample are -1 for strikeouts, 1.3 for walks, and 4.3 for barrels. These weights improve the correlation between season one BWS and season two wOBA to .42 across the same 2,342 hitter sample, surpassing the strength between season one wOBA and season two wOBA.


Best Hitter Seasons by BWS Since 2015

The downside of adding these weights is that they are not easily computable in one’s head, and they are on an unfamiliar scale (league average is 11 in 2022, for instance). The table below shows the best hitters since 2015 by BWS (minimum 190 PA), but I convert them to a z-score (also known as standard score) for ease of interpretation (0 is league average, one is one standard deviation above league average, -1 is one standard deviation below league average, etc.).

Note the correlation between zBWS (z-score of BWS) and wOBA in the same season is .75. The two metrics of hitter talent are highly correlated, but each still offers unique insight.

Table note: all data for this article was collected on 8/15/2022.

Aaron Judge’s historic season rates second only to Juan Soto’s marvelous 2020. The rest of the list is comprised mostly of the game’s best hitters—what you want to see when designing a novel metric that purports to measure hitter talent—with each player also rated extremely well by wOBA – with the exception of Josh Donaldson in 2021, who was more good than great by wOBA, but excellent by zBWS. Donaldson also had an elite xwOBA in 2021, but he suffered from a low BABIP, and BWS does not account for close to everything. For instance, speed is not factored in, which likely played a role in the low BABIP for Donaldson (as opposed to solely bad luck).


Interesting BWS Cases in 2022

Next, the table below shows zBWS for interesting names in 2022. For inclusion, there needed to be: 1) a standard deviation difference of at least one in magnitude between zBWS and zwOBA (wOBA also converted to a z-score for ease of comparison); 2) meet my completely arbitrary and hastily determined definition of ‘interesting.’ Note that a one standard deviation shift in zBWS is equivalent to a 28-point shift in wOBA.

In 2022, league average barrel per pa is 5.2%, K% is 22.2%, and BB% is 8.2%. The table is sorted by magnitude of difference between zwOBA and zBWS.

Danny Jansen has cemented himself as a strong all-around catcher who’d see a boost in value if he left Toronto, where he’d get more playing time not having to compete with rising star Alejandro Kirk.

Abraham Toro, Austin Meadows, and Jesse Winker have each had down seasons in 2022, but Toro has maintained good BB% and K%, and Meadows and Winker have maintained elite BB% and K%, while all three have barrel per PA rates close to the MLB average. Winker and Meadows are two of my favorite buy low candidates for 2022 and beyond—particularly Meadows because of how quiet his 2022 has been on the surface (although Meadows still can’t manage to get healthy so buying low may need to wait until 2023).

Slowpoke Carlos Santana looks like a chronic zBWS underperformer and his playing time has become too inconsistent to roster in typical weekly formats, but I’m convinced he’s better than he’s been, and still an above-average hitter when he plays. Another old, slow bat, Nelson Cruz continues to play everyday and showcase solid BWS abilities. I am fine with continuing to run him out there as long as the playing time is there—he may yet have one last hot streak left in him.

Jose Miranda, Michael Harris II, Andres Gimenez, Andrew Vaughn, and Jake McCarthy comprise a group of young 2022 breakouts, to differing degrees. However, zBWS suggests a bit of caution is justified in evaluating each, as only Vaughn has a strong BB% minus K%, while only Harris has a barrel per PA rate significantly above average (7.7%). It is not surprising to see the weak BB% and K% for Harris in particular, as he went straight from Double-A to the majors. Aging growth should also be expected for this group in the longer term, however—they should look better by zBWS in 2023 and beyond. Further, Gimenez, McCarthy, and Harris have serious 2022 value even without super strong hitting skills because of the speed and playing time. I also think Vaughn has more barrel potential in the tank given his prospect pedigree.

Luis Arraez and Steven Kwan are two of baseball’s most extreme contact hitters. Arraez has grown into enough power to be appreciated by both zBWS and zwOBA, but Kwan needs to add a bit of oomph if he is to rate well by zBWS. The Big Three projection systems at FanGraphs appreciate Kwan and Arraez more than zBWS, tending to value both as comfortably above-average bats. zBWS may place a bit too much emphasis on barrels relative to strikeouts and walks and other indicators of contact quality—a future version might incorporate additional quality of contact measures beyond barrels to account for this potential bias.

Randy Arozarena also looks underrated by zBWS, as he possesses rare strong BABIP abilities, and the projections also tend to like him more than zBWS. Still, he’s a better fantasy bat than real life bat given the serious speed. The merely average-ish zwOBA and zBWS gives him some platoon risk, although he’s continued to prove that risk unfounded thus far. With elite K% and strong BB% and barrel per PA rates, Vinnie Pasquantino fully looks the part of the game's next slugging first basemen.



A focus on just three metrics, barrels, walks, and strikeouts, cuts through the noise to get at a hitter’s true talent level. Careful thinking and more in-depth research is required to account for the various aspects of hitting BWS does not account for.

Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!

More Fantasy Baseball Advice


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


Kirill Kaprizov3 hours ago

Extends Point Streak In Loss
Alex Ovechkin3 hours ago

Scores Twice In Victory
Joe Jiménez3 hours ago

Braves Acquire Joe Jimenez From Tigers
Xander Bogaerts3 hours ago

Padres Agree With Xander Bogaerts On 11-Year Deal
Tage Thompson4 hours ago

Scores Five Goals In Dominant Victory
Tyler Herro5 hours ago

Probable For Meeting With The Clippers
Buddy Hield5 hours ago

Scores 26 Points In Loss
Tyrese Haliburton5 hours ago

Plays Well In Return From Injury
Giannis Antetokounmpo5 hours ago

Has Game-High 35 Points In Win
Kevin Durant5 hours ago

Nearly Misses A Triple-Double On Wednesday
Kyrie Irving6 hours ago

Scores 33 Points On Wednesday
Julius Randle6 hours ago

Dominant In Win Over Hawks
Romeo Langford8 hours ago

Probable For Thursday
Dansby Swanson8 hours ago

Four Teams Showing Serious Interest In Dansby Swanson
Andrew Wiggins8 hours ago

To Miss Next Two Games
Dejounte Murray8 hours ago

Won't Return On Wednesday
Chris Paul8 hours ago

Returns On Wednesday
Dejounte Murray8 hours ago

Questionable To Return On Wednesday
Xander Bogaerts8 hours ago

Six Teams Talking With Xander Bogaerts
Myles Turner8 hours ago

To Play Wednesday
Tyrese Haliburton9 hours ago

Available On Wednesday
Javonte Green9 hours ago

Ruled Out For Wednesday
Mike Conley9 hours ago

Won't Return On Wednesday
Alex Caruso9 hours ago

Available On Wednesday
Ziaire Williams9 hours ago

Available On Wednesday
Pittsburgh Pirates10 hours ago

Pirates Take Jose Hernandez In Rule 5 Draft
Kevin Porter10 hours ago

Jr. In Doubt To Play On Thursday
Lauri Markkanen10 hours ago

Has Been Ruled Out Against Warriors
Ryan Noda10 hours ago

A's Pluck Ryan Noda Away From The Dodgers
Herbert Jones10 hours ago

Will Not Play On Wednesday Night
Boston Red Sox10 hours ago

Red Sox Reel In Masataka Yoshida On Five-Year Deal
Cole Hamels10 hours ago

Wants To Pitch In 2023
Josh Jacobs10 hours ago

Questionable For Thursday Night Football
New York Mets10 hours ago

Mets Remain Involved With Kodai Senga
Carlos Rodón10 hours ago

Yankees Remain In On Carlos Rodon
Mike Williams10 hours ago

Set To Practice This Week
Carlos Correa10 hours ago

Giants Have Talked With Carlos Correa
Thad Ward10 hours ago

Nationals Select Thad Ward With First Rule 5 Pick
Zach Hyman10 hours ago

Set To Return Wednesday
James Van Riemsdyk11 hours ago

James van Riemsdyk Returns To Flyers Lineup
Craig Smith11 hours ago

Back For Bruins Wednesday
James Reimer11 hours ago

Misses Another Game
Nico Sturm11 hours ago

Back In Action Wednesday
Jack Eichel11 hours ago

Sits Out A Second Game
Filip Chytil11 hours ago

Ready To Go Wednesday
Jimmy Garoppolo12 hours ago

A Long Shot To Return In Playoffs
Joe Mixon12 hours ago

A Full Participant In Practice
Los Angeles Rams13 hours ago

Aaron Donald Ruled Out For Thursday Night
Trevor Lawrence13 hours ago

Expects To Play In Week 14
Brooks Raley13 hours ago

Mets Acquire Brooks Raley From Rays
Casey Sadler14 hours ago

Mariners Sign Casey Sadler To Minors Deal
Tucker Barnhart14 hours ago

Pirates Interested In Tucker Barnhart
Seth Lugo14 hours ago

Drawing A Lot Of Interest To Start
Courtland Sutton14 hours ago

Unlikely To Play In Week 14
Xander Bogaerts14 hours ago

Red Sox In Heavy Discussions With Xander Bogaerts
David Njoku14 hours ago

Ready To Play
Aledmys Díaz15 hours ago

Aledmys Diaz Agrees With The A's
Kenley Jansen15 hours ago

Agrees With The Red Sox
Willson Contreras15 hours ago

Cardinals, Willson Contreras Agree On Five-Year Deal
José Quintana15 hours ago

Jose Quintana Chooses The Mets
Buffalo Bills16 hours ago

Von Miller Undergoes Surgery, Out For The Year
Mark Ingram II16 hours ago

Likely Done For The Season
Trevor Lawrence16 hours ago

Up In The Air For Week 14
Tua Tagovailoa16 hours ago

Expected To Be Limited In Practice
Davis Mills16 hours ago

Texans Going Back To Davis Mills At QB
Magomed Ankalaev17 hours ago

Can Realize His UFC Dream
Jan Blachowicz17 hours ago

Set For Title Redemption
Jared Gordon17 hours ago

Has An Opportunity For A Huge Victory
Paddy Pimblett17 hours ago

Set To Showcase In UFC 282
Matt Murray19 hours ago

Records A 44-Save Shutout
Pierre-Luc Dubois20 hours ago

Extends Hot Streak With Three Assists
Anze Kopitar20 hours ago

Collects Three Assists
Sidney Crosby20 hours ago

Extends Point Streak With Two Goals
Dougie Hamilton20 hours ago

Picks Up Three Points Tuesday
Vitek Vanecek20 hours ago

Records His Second Shutout
Dricus Du Plessis20 hours ago

Hoping To Continue To Rack Up Wins
Darren Till20 hours ago

Looking For A Key Victory At UFC 282
Adam Pelech20 hours ago

Exits With Injury
Ilia Topuria20 hours ago

Meets Fellow Top-15 Undefeated Featherweight
Bryce Mitchell20 hours ago

Set To Open UFC 282 Main Card
Nathan MacKinnon20 hours ago

Out For Four Weeks
Greg Dortch1 day ago

Cardinals Hopeful Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch Return This Week
Jimmy Garoppolo1 day ago

Will Avoid Surgery, Could Return In Playoffs
Baker Mayfield1 day ago

Claimed By The Rams
Shane Wright1 day ago

Set To Re-Enter Seattle Lineup
Sean Monahan1 day ago

Questionable For Tuesday
Derick Brassard1 day ago

Rejoins Senators Lineup
David Njoku2 days ago

Browns Expect David Njoku To Play In Week 14
Lamar Jackson2 days ago

Dealing With PCL Knee Sprain
Courtland Sutton2 days ago

Deemed Day-To-Day
Hayden Hurst2 days ago

Doubtful For Week 14
Lamar Jackson3 days ago

Week-To-Week With Knee Injury
Kevin Holland3 days ago

Takes The Loss In Saturday's Main Event
Stephen Thompson3 days ago

Earns Victory In Main Event
Bryan Barberena3 days ago

Unable To Secure A Win Saturday
Rafael Dos Anjos3 days ago

Rafael dos Anjos Takes Co-Main Event By Submission
Matt Schnell3 days ago

Matthew Christopher Schnell Takes The Loss Saturday
Matheus Nicolau3 days ago

Continues Run With TKO Victory
Tai Tuivasa3 days ago

Suffers Second Straight Loss
Sergei Pavlovich3 days ago

Earns Fifth Straight Victory With Knockout Win
Jack Hermansson3 days ago

Ends 2022 With Losing Record
Roman Dolidze3 days ago

Makes Most Of Opportunity With TKO Victory
Kyle Daukaus3 days ago

Has His Night Come To An Early End
Eryk Anders3 days ago

Gets It Done With A Second TKO Performance
Kevin Holland5 days ago

Hoping To Rebound With Main-Event Victory