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 - xwOBA (Week 3)


Welcome back to our weekly Statcast Hitter Analysis series. Each week, I will select a different metric to evaluate surprising names at the top and bottom of the Statcast Leaderboards. 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.

One statistic that isn't likely to resonate with casual baseball fans, but fantasy owners and sabermetricians value greatly, is xwOBA. The x, you may know, stands for "expected" and looks at how batters should be performing according to Statcast. Not many fantasy leagues use on-base average to reward owners but it can foretell of a player's potential to score runs, steal bases, or maintain playing time. I won't tell you that Mike Trout is at the top of the list and don't need to mention Daniel Vogelbach's hot start again. Instead, we'll dig up some names of interest that you might not expect.

Aside from simply finding out who is performing well for their teams, fantasy owners can utilize this data to find risers and fallers to identify as buy, sell, add or drop possibilities. Connelly Doan examined the pitcher side of the leaderboard for this metric just last week. If you want to know who the xwOBA leaders from 2018 were, we've got that right here. Now, let's get into the hitters who are standing out in this regard as we head into Week 3 of the MLB season.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Surprising Chart Toppers

All stats current as of April 14, 2019 and display leaders among hitters with at least 25 PA.

 

Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) .544 xwOBA

If this were a piece on Barrels or Exit Velocity, Sanchez wouldn't make the list. It's hardly shocking that he can rake when in the lineup. The headline here is that Sanchez is getting on base without depending solely on the long ball. Don't get it twisted - the 4.4% walk rate is still bad and a .268 batting average isn't astounding, but it's a lot better than last year's .186. Sanchez isn't just performing up to his ADP, he's underperforming his expected numbers. A .439 wOBA is 105 points behind the xwOBA, so we could be seeing better numbers.

That assumes he gets back on the field soon, of course. Sanchez just hit the Injured List with a calf strain, so now his owners are going from ecstatic to panicked as they must find a catcher that somehow is capable of producing fantasy value over the next two weeks. It seems getting injured is the new Yankee Way.

 

Franmil Reyes (OF, SD) .494 xwOBA

Reyes has mostly been a bust in the first two weeks of 2019, but he should be doing far better. Reyes is the single biggest underachiever, with a league-leading differential of -.187 on his xwOBA-wOBA. His plate discipline has made an astonishing turnaround, with a 4.5% K-BB% after last year's 19.7% K-BB%.

Reyes has found himself in the two-hole despite a low batting average because of his ability to draw walks and induce long counts as he did against Zack Greinke on a couple of occasions Sunday afternoon. Reyes may have been ditched by some impatient fantasy owners already, but the numbers show that he could be a player to add or buy-low in the coming week before positive regression comes.

 

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, DET) .482 xwOBA

If you own Goodrum, it's likely because he qualifies at almost every position and you like the flexibility. You should also like the fact he's slashing .293/.420/.512 and has drawn nine walks compared to 10 strikeouts in 13 games. The Tigers have proven to be more competitive than we expected and that's without Miggy getting hot yet (he will eventually, right?).

Goodrum is a sneaky value and realistically belongs on rosters in all leagues with 12 or more teams. The power and speed combo haven't shown up just yet but he could definitely put together a 20-15 season after last year's 16-HR, 12-SB output in 492 plate appearances as a utility player.

 

Colin Moran (3B, PIT) .448 xwOBA

This might seem irrelevant for fantasy purposes at first glance, but what if I told you that his main competition for playing time, Jung Ho Kang, is in the bottom 10 of this very metric? Kang is currently 285 out of 294 qualified batters with a .189 xwOBA, whereas Moran ranks 16th, just ahead of Ronald Acuna and Christian Yelich. Yes, small sample size, yadda yadda. The point is that Moran is vastly outperforming Kang so far and might force the Bucs into giving him the gig full-time if it keeps up.

Moran has always posted strong walk rates and can hit for average but his power is lacking compared to his peers at the hot corner. Moran hit 11 HR in 144 games last year and posted a ground ball rate 15% higher than his fly ball rate. He's improved in that area as well as his hard hit rate so far, but it remains to be seen whether it's sustainable. For now, Moran can be a speculative add in NL-only or deep points leagues. The bigger news is that Kang's once-promising return is at a halt.

 

Alarming Bottom Dwellers

All stats current as of April 14, 2019 and display leaders among hitters with at least 25 PA.

 

Matt Kemp (OF, CIN) .172 xwOBA

Not many fantasy owners kept faith in Kemp being an asset in 2019. He was the 300th overall pick according to NFBC preseason data, meaning he wasn't even drafted in many 10 and 12-team leagues. That was a good choice. Kemp is off to a bad start in his new city despite a more favorable park for right-handed hitters. GABP ranked #1 in HR Park Factor for righties, yet Kemp has just one bomb this season.

He's also shown a great aversion to drawing walks, declining to take a single free pass over his first 37 PA. His walk rate had rebounded to 7.1% last year, so it's not as if this is something we should have seen coming. His second-half decline last year could have been a sign but it's not as if he fell off a cliff either. Kemp could find his playing time decrease if things don't correct themselves soon, but that probably means more for the other players o Cincy's roster than Kemp himself.

 

Garrett Hampson (2B, COL) .177 xwOBA

From sleeper to bust in the blink of any eye. Such is life for a hyped-up rookie in a seemingly great situation. The door was wide open for Hampson to contribute once Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon both landed on the IL. Instead, he's gotten off to a .170/.184/.234 slash line with no steals.

The biggest concern is plate discipline naturally, as he's struck out 14 times compared to a single walk in 47 at-bats. Hampson hasn't found a way to get on base, which doesn't bode well for his ability to contribute in roto leagues under a conservative skipper. The Rockies are 27th in stolen base attempts per game at 0.40 and aren't likely to let Hampson loose until their bats start producing more quality contact.

If there's a silver lining, it's that Hampson does seem to be warming up as the season progresses. He singled Sunday to put together a modest five-game hitting streak. That's only eight hits in his last 21 at-bats, seven of which were singles, but at least it's something.

 

Jose Peraza (2B/SS, CIN) .229 xwOBA

Peraza hasn't taken a walk yet this year in 42 plate appearances. That's a problem for a guy who's also hitting .178 and relies on stolen base opportunities to provide fantasy value. He's not the only Reds player on the bottom of this list: Jose Iglesias, Yasiel Puig, and Scott Schebler all fall outside the top 200 batters for xwOBA in the early going.

The team has struggled with injuries, suspensions and cold bats in key places to conspire against fantasy owners who invested in what should have been a potent offense. They've picked up the pace lately, scoring exactly five runs in five of the last seven games, and throwing in a 14-run outburst in the middle (against the Marlins granted, but it still counts). Peraza hasn't been part of that resurgence, not picking up a hit since last Tuesday and going 0-for-4 on Sunday.

It may be too early to panic, but looking long-term there could be reason for concern. If Scooter Gennett comes back by mid-May, Nick Senzel finally gets healthy, and Derek Dietrich keeps hitting, Peraza could find himself in a crunch for playing time if he's still hovering around the Mendoza line. There won't be a market for him, so he's at best a player to stash for now. Don't hesitate to cut bait if he doesn't snap out of it soon though.

More Statcast & Fantasy Baseball Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 14 Le'Veon Bell (illness) is questionable to play this week. Marlon Mack is expected to be back on the... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 14

Welcome to our Week 14 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Week 14 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Fantasy Football IDP Rankings for Week 14 (Top 100)

The fantasy playoffs are here for most of us, so every position matters that much more. IDP spots often become an afterthought or a set-it-and-forget-it situation but it could be that linebacker who has a monster game or that key interception that makes the difference between winning or going home. Look to our streamer suggestions... Read More


Week 14-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

The playoffs are here, and that means we're going to do things a little differently. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More


Star Players Who Might Miss the Fantasy Playoffs

As we head into the playoff weeks of fantasy football, you'll hear many experts preach (correctly) the need to stash high-upside handcuffs or backups at quarterback or tight end. You'll inevitably hear about looking ahead three weeks for favorable playoff schedules and thinking less about what the player has done up until now or whether... Read More


Week 14 Busts? Players To Consider Avoiding

It's finally here... The fantasy playoffs for most leagues. Hopefully you have a chance to win a fantasy championship in the next few weeks. If you're lucky, you have a first-round bye and won't have to worry about anything this week except for picking out a Christmas tree and setting up all your holiday decorations.... Read More


Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Zach Pascal, Jamaal Williams, Gardner Minshew

Whether this is the first week of your playoffs, the last week of your regular season, or the time to win a DFS league to pay for your holiday presents, this is the most crucial week of your fantasy football season. While my booms from last week (Robert Woods, Jack Doyle, Dede Westbrook, Kyle Allen)... Read More


Running Back Start/Sit Advice - Week 14

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano break down the running back position to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. They decide who to start or sit among those in RB3 or flex consideration. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest... Read More


Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 13 Analysis

Wide receivers are essential components toward your ultimate goal of securing league championships. As many of you prepare for your Week 14 matchups, an expanding collection of tools are available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge. Those results provide the foundation for this weekly statistical breakdown of the wide receiver position, which... Read More


Week 14 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the playoffs are beginning in most leagues and the final march for a championship has begun, streaming becomes a  necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions could easily be the difference in winning a championship.... Read More


Wide Receiver Start/Sit Advice - Week 14

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano break down the wide receiver position to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. They decide who to start or sit among those in WR3 or flex consideration. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest... Read More


The King's Week 14 Lineup Rankings and Analysis (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers! Below you will find my Week 14 fantasy football lineup rankings for the first round of your playoffs. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR, and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions, especially on the weekends. Skill Position analysis versus... Read More


Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Playoff Panic

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More


Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 14

It's that time of year again! While many will be caught up in the thrills of the holiday season, those lucky few who have risen to the top of their fantasy leagues will be sweating over lineup decisions in pursuit of a championship (in most league formats). To our fantasy owners who have managed to... Read More