baseball savant

baseball savant

baseball savant

How does a baseball player become a prodigy? How can coaches help? And what kind of tactics can help a player further develop his or her skills? This is a complicated question, but two guys, in particular, have a seemingly unlimited understanding of the answer. Pat O’Brien and Vin Scully have been there at the top of the game, and they have a wealth of wisdom to share.


What I was looking at is how many bad balls and strike calls have been made, and which team’s are benefitting the most from them. At the above linked page you can find the Gameday Zone Dropdown. If you click on that drop down, you can then select in zone or out of zone. Then you go to Pitch result dropdown, and select what you’re looking for...in this case either called strike or ball. Then you use the other drop downs to select player type, (pitcher or hitter) and in this case team, and the year, 2020. The reports that are generated can be downloaded into spreadsheet form. (Source: www.azsnakepit.com)

Witt, the BA Minor League Player of the Year, was not alone in taking a major step forward in 2021. But the breakthrough success of Royals hitters took root with a 2019 decision. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com)

He has quickly reverted back to the player he was with the Marlins from a production standpoint. Many argued — validly, considering the information we had at the time — that 2020 was a heavily noisy down year for the 2018 National League Most Valuable Player. A bad 247-PA stretch is not out of the realm of possibility for any player, and a 113 wRC+ is far from bad. It didn’t stop him from demanding a late first-/early second-round ADP leading into the 2021 season. Unfortunately, Yelich has carried his “struggles” over to this season, making them now impossible to ignore. Has he always been a good, but not great, player? A player of that caliber does not perform at an MVP level for two full seasons by some random fluke. But we are starting to see more evidence that he may not be one of MLB’s more premier superstars like he inarguably was following the 2019 season. (Source: www.pitcherlist.com)

On quick glance at Yelich’s Baseball Savant page, you may notice a lot of red. Let this be a reminder that we shouldn’t use Baseball Savant sliders as our sole analysis of a player. Many of them are redundant and hence don’t give you any new information about the player. Also, this tells us Yelich still has the tools to be an elite hitter. (Source: www.pitcherlist.com)

Usually, when you see a player underperforming his preseason expectation, you look at various metrics that may signal regression is coming. Unfortunately for Christian Yelich, those don’t help him. A Yelich resurgence would give a massive boost to the Brewers, who, despite holding a commanding lead over the rest of the NL Central, have struggled offensively this season. Maybe he was the product of juiced balls. Maybe pitchers have figured out how to attack him. Either way, I’m legitimately concerned about Yelich’s chances of returning to some resemblance of his MVP-level performance. (Source: www.pitcherlist.com)

This isn’t to say Yelich is a bad player. He is still an above-average hitter and the most important position player on his team. However, if you drafted him in fantasy, you were expecting great, not good. Hopefully, he will start to heat up eventually and prove all of this was a fluke. However, we may just have to accept the fact that he’s not an elite player anymore. (Source: www.pitcherlist.com)

These statistics are very useful just because of their simple nature. You should not be expecting a player to hit a lot of home runs unless he is registering a good amount of barrels since such an enormous share of home runs are classified as barrels. This gives you a new, useful, park factor independent way of seeing which players are making the best contact and are likely to hit for power in the future. (Source: www.fantasypros.com)

We said the Rockies managed 40 batted balls hit at 110 MPH or higher, and there’s the distribution. C.J. Cron by himself accounted for exactly half of them, Sam Hilliard had six, and the rest of the guys each had one less than the previous player. The only guy on this list who surprised me a little bit was Connor Joe, who hit three balls 110+ MPH (110.0, 110.3 and 113.3 respectively), but the top names were obvious. In fact, Connor Joe had a higher percentage of batted balls hit 110+ MPH than everyone else aside from Hilliard and Cron: (Source: www.purplerow.com)

Considering Semien ranked fifth in fWAR as recently as 2019, it’s not a shock to see him produce at such a level. At the same time, this was a player you could draft with the 121st overall pick in Fantrax leagues this past offseason. Now, per CBS Sports, he ranks second among all hitters in fantasy points. By this time next year, it’s safe to say that his average draft position will be cut in half, and then some. (Source: www.fantraxhq.com At the end of every day, I like to watch every home run that was hit. Is this a strange habit? Perhaps, but who doesn’t love seeing great players accomplish great feats? Hitting a baseball traveling 95+MPH 400 feet remains one of the hardest things to do in professional sports. (Source:www.fantraxhq.com))

www.fantraxhq.com)To find out who is in the best position to overachieve their power numbers, I’d thought I’d make a shiny new statistic to figure this out. The calculation is actually quite simple. First, I found the percentile rank of each player in terms of pull% and under%. From there, I used the following formula (percentile under% + percentile under% + percentile pull)/3. This weights the two key inputs properly, and in a very convenient, simplistic fashion! (Source:

If anyone has a better name for this statistic, feel free to rename it, but hey, Semien was the reason behind this study, right? Thus, the “Marcus Index” would appear to be an appropriate rate. For those who rank one standard deviation better than average (68th percentile), you’d expect their ISO to be 20 points higher than their xISO, a notable amount. Meanwhile, for those 1.5 standard deviations or better (about the 81st percentile), then that number goes up to 30. If you want to find out why a player is hitting for more power than they theoretically should, the Marcus Index is a great way to start. (Source: www.fantraxhq.com)

The #1 player on the Marcus Index? That would be Rhys Hoskins in 2019. His 98th percentile in under% and 81.5th percentile in pull% gave him a complete profile, and, what do you know; he overachieve his xISO by 27 points! Seven “under” balls were converted into home runs, and this was a similar case study in 2018. He’s cut down on his pull rate and under% since, but there was certainly a clear reason behind his success. (Source: www.fantraxhq.com)

Ranking high in the Marcus Index is certainly not a rarity for Jose Ramirez, with two top-10 historical finishes under his belt. He’s taken his pull rate (55.2%) to new levels this year, and although there’s a slight decrease in his under%, pulling his fly balls at such a high rate helps compensate for that. In fact, here’s a look at the players with the most pulled “barrels” for home runs this year: (Source: www.fantraxhq.com)

Add in Adam Duvall (9th), and all of the top-five players in the Marcus Index, and six of the top-nine, appear on this list. It’s not just about “under%” balls; if your fly balls are pulled, there’s a better chance they will result in a home run, simply based on ballpark dimensions. This is the modern-day approach, and more hitters are likely to gear into it more over time. (Source: www.fantraxhq.com)

The one player that I’d be worried about is Jared Walsh, but only to an extent. There doesn’t appear to be a reason that he’s hitting for so much more power than expected, outside of one factor: Angel Stadium. It’s the fourth-most friendly home run park for left-handed hitters, and, sure enough, he has an absurd 38.5% home run/fly ball rate at home this year; twice as much as it is on the road. Luckily, in fantasy, we only care about what his numbers are, and there’s reason to still be optimistic if he continues to take advantage of his home ballpark. There are concerns as to his struggles in the latter half of the year, though the ballpark seems to explain the discrepancy in actual stats and expected stats. (Source: www.fantraxhq.com)

The more context we can add, the better, and it’s important that we tell the proper story of a player’s ability. Information like this is exactly why actual numbers correlate on a year-to-year basis better than expected stats, and why we shouldn’t settle for shortcuts in our evaluation process. Hopefully, the principle of the Marcus Index can be something you can utilize to gain an edge in your fantasy baseball leagues moving forward! (Source: www.fantraxhq.com)

For this research, we looked at game data from Baseball Savant, MLB.com, and Retrosheet. The time period chosen, the most recent 11 baseball regular seasons (2008–2018), presented over four million called pitches. Similar to players, MLB umpires were assigned numbers, so that games behind the plate could be easily tracked. All active umpires were included in this performance study, and their ability to accurately call balls and strikes was closely observed. All 30 major league parks are outfitted with triangulated tracking cameras that follow baseballs from the pitcher’s hand to across home plate. Ball location can be tracked up to 50 times during each pitch and accuracy is claimed to be within one inch. Statcast, an MLB subsidiary, is at the center of this system—the backbone of strike-zone graphics used during televised and live-streamed games. Called pitches and strike-zone overlay were populated from Baseball Savant, Pitch F/X (2008–16), and Statcast data (2017–18). (Source: www.bu.edu)

Anecdotally, veteran umpires such as Joe West (debuted 1978), have long earned the scorn of players and fans for their proclivity for bad calls. The statistics show that West made more incorrect calls than most. In fact, behind the plate, over the last 11 seasons he has averaged 21 incorrect calls a game, or 2.3 per inning. And while Angel Hernandez (debuted 1991) receives similar fan dislike, averaging 19 incorrect calls a game, or 2.2 per inning, even with this high error rate, compared to his peers, he performed better than others, escaping the 2018 Bottom 10 MLB list. (Source: www.bu.edu)

Major League Baseball’s goal should not be to resist change, but to adhere to the official strike zone that its own rules make clear—on every pitch. High-tech aids and greater recruitment of competent younger umpires is another important step. Imagine player and fan experience and what baseball would look like if each year the more than 34,000 incorrect calls vanished. Fans could focus more on umpire standouts and rising stars and applaud the veterans who are able to withstand the test of time, just like the best aging ballplayers are appreciated. (Source: www.bu.edu)

The National League East should be better next season. The Atlanta Braves will likely remain formidable in their World Series defense. The New York Mets, as long as their key players stay healthy, are better than their 77-85 record in 2021. (Source: bleacherreport.com)


Related Articles