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

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Statcast Hitter Studs and Duds - Exit Velocity for Week 2


Welcome to this year's first iteration of Statcast Hitter Analysis. Each week, I will select a different metric to evaluate unexpected names at the top and bottom of the Statcast Leaderboards.

Even if you aren't well-versed in Statcast, you know exit velocity. Even the crustiest of old-school baseball announcers have incorporated this term in his vernacular, if nothing else related to sabermetrics. To kick things off take another look at this important stat by examining the last month's worth of data to find risers and fallers for possible buy, sell, add or drop possibilities.

Many fantasy baseball owners are starting to see the value of MLB's Statcast advanced stats in order to help identify potential risers and sleepers. Just as we do for pitchers, this weekly series will examine a handful of hitters who are performing surprisingly well or poorly according to sabermetrics. This week, we look at exit velocity to see who is off to a hot start contact-wise and who is making weak contact as we get into the swing of things (pun fully intended).

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Surprising Chart Toppers

All stats current as of April 8, 2019 and display leaders among hitters with at least 10 BBE.

 

Daniel Vogelbach (1B, SEA)

98.8 MPH avg. exit velocity

It might be ironic that Vogelbach is finally living up to some of his potential, just as his opportunity for regular playing time disappeared. He had every chance in the world to win the starting first base job back in 2017 but was inconsistent and forced the M's to throw Danny Valencia in the lineup instead. 2018 was supposed to be different, but he instead struggled to a .207/.324/.368 line and spent much of the season in the minors. That allowed Ryon Healy to step up and claim the job as his own. Now, with Edwin Encarnacion holding down the DH job and Healy still hitting well, Vogelbach is just a part-timer hoping to stick on the roster as a lefty off the bench.

Still, he is making the most of his ABs. Over 15 at-bats, Vogelbach has four home runs and eight RBI with an otherworldly 1.400 Slugging percent. Now. here's the part where we remind ourselves it's barely been over a week of play and he's not getting regular playing time. While Vogelbach tops the exit velocity leaderboard and is 12th in Barrels per PA, chances are he'll slow down and still hasn't done enough to be more than a platoon bat. If Healy or E5 get injured, it might be wise to scoop him up quickly though.

Note: he homered again Monday night. This is getting serious...

 

Renato Nunez (3B, BAL)

97.5 MPH avg. exit velocity

The Orioles' early performance has been eye-opening, mainly because they actually won a couple of games. Don't look now, but they're playing .500 ball 10 games into the season! Players like Dwight Smith Jr. and Trey Mancini are putting together fantasy-relevant starts but Nunez is stroking the ball hard and may see better results soon enough.

Nunez is currently hitting .250 with one HR and five RBI - not something worth dropping FAAB for just yet. He is second among all hitters on the exit velocity board and hitting cleanup for the O's, so RBI opportunities should be at least adequate with Jonathan Villar at the top of the order and Mancini just ahead of him. Nunez is worth a look in AL-only leagues and deep 14+ teamers.

 

J.D. Davis (3B, NYM)

91.6 MPH avg. exit velocity

Another part-timer making the most of his chances, Davis' exit velo sits just ahead of Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge after a week and a half. He may want to screenshot that leaderboard because it likely won't last. Last year, he finished with a decent but modest 88.5 MPH average, third among the Davis clan (behind Khris and Chris, but thankfully well ahead of Rajai).

Todd Frazier should be back fairly soon to reclaim third base, so Davis' fantasy usefulness is all but up for now. The power looks to be present but he doesn't bring enough to the table to be worth monitoring otherwise.

 

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN) 

96.2 MPH avg. exit velocity

First, a confession that nothing warms my heart more than finding data to confirm my bias. I called it bold before the season, but now I'm convinced - Buxton will finally break out! He topped the leaderboard for Sprint Speed last season but finding him near the top of the exit velocity leaders is a pleasant surprise, small sample size be damned!

Buxton finished 443rd out of 480 players with a minimum of 50 BBE in 2018 at 85.7 MPH. But last year doesn't count anymore, does it? Buxton is certainly putting his past behind him but it can't be ignored that in 2017 he was at 85 MPH average velocity. He won't keep this up but we can at least conclude that he's seeing the ball a whole lot better and has raised his hard hit rate to 57.1% thus far. He still really isn't into the whole taking a walk thing (one so far) but it's good news that he's stuck out only five times in the first seven games. He hasn't gone deep yet but we know the power tool is there along with elite speed. Normally I'd say this is a nice buy-low candidate, but chances are the Buxton owner in your league is a believer too.

 

Alarming Bottom Dwellers

All stats current as of April 8, 2019 and display leaders among hitters with at least 10 BBE.

 

Daniel Palka (1B/OF, CHW)

78.8 MPH avg. exit velocity

Palka is only 5% owned in fantasy leagues so this isn't too alarming for anyone but those who pegged him as a preseason sleeper could be biting their nails if he doesn't turn things around. Palka's game is power, so if he's not crushing the ball then he's worthless. Not only is his exit velo pretty low for a slugger, but the problem is also far worse than a lack of homers. He has failed to gather a single base hit over 21 at-bats. That's right 0-for-21 to start the year. Apparently, Palka and Chris Davis have a running bet to see who can get into the record books first.

The Sox will give him a longer leash because they aren't contending for anything this year but this isn't Eloy Jimenez or Yoan Moncada who will be allowed to work through their struggles all year. At some point, Palka needs to improve his contact rate drastically in order to stay on the roster.

 

Charlie Blackmon (OF, COL)

82.1 MPH avg. exit velocity

Many fantasy owners felt Blackmon was being undervalued in 2019 drafts, as his bat skills showed no decline. The lone reason for concern might be a relative lack of steals compared to his prime but the rest of his profile doesn't scream decline. This is no exception either.

Blackmon registered an 87.2 MPH exit velocity in 2018 and 86.9 in both 2017 and 2016. He averaged 31.6 HR and hit over .291 in each of those three seasons. Bottom line, he's not going to mash every ball he contacts but the results will still be there.

 

Brian Dozier (2B, WAS)

82.6 MPH avg. exit velocity

Now here is something to worry about. Dozier's 2019 is off to about as bad a start as possible. In 25 at-bats, he has a pair of singles, nine K and one walk with not a single counting stat to reward his owners, or his new team.

Last year's second half scared a lot of people off, but his ADP of 137 made him the 14th second baseman off the board in fantasy drafts, so he's dragging down the fantasy value of rosters all over. We could give him a grace period to adjust to his new surroundings, but he should be benched for the foreseeable future.

 

Tyler White (1B, HOU)

83.2 MPH avg. exit velocity

White occupies the CI spot in many deeper leagues based on his power potential and semi-regular spot in a loaded Astros lineup. He's off to a decent start in terms of average (.250) but there has been a power outage thus far. This partly explains White's impressively bad -10.8° launch angle as well, which is pretty hard to do. Although he's not the next Eric Hosmer, White has yet to reward his team with a homer or an RBI for that matter.

Hitting primarily in the eighth spot and sitting against right-handers, White has become mostly useless in fantasy leagues. He hit .265 vs RHP last year, so it's not as if he is a liability but A.J. Hinch doesn't seem to have confidence that he is an everyday player as of right now so neither should we.

More Statcast & Fantasy Baseball Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More


Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More


2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More


How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Mock Draft Review: Best Late-Round Targets

Last week, some members of the RotoBaller staff completed a 12-team mock draft for standard 5x5 format. After the draft, we each broke down our strategy and some of our favorite picks, which can be found here. However, I want to take a closer look at one portion of the draft in particular. Since we know that... Read More


Faster and Furious: Pitchers with Rising Velocity/Performance

Welcome fantasy baseball players! I’m sure that you, like me, are anxiously counting down the days until your drafts and Opening Day. While the fantasy season may not start for several weeks, there are plenty of things we can do to start preparing for a successful season. One of those things is to take a good... Read More


James Karinchak Is A Relief Pitcher To Know in 2020

One of the lesser-known players that intrigues me for the 2020 MLB season is Indians relief pitcher James Karinchak. The former Bryant Bulldog was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in the 2017 draft and went on to have one of the most outrageous statistical seasons in minor league baseball history. As someone who... Read More