Here we are, another Friday afternoon, another week of fantasy baseball in the books. What to talk about this week…hmm
Have I ever mentioned how much I like spreadsheets? Well, if you enjoy sifting through lots of data, having an affinity for spreadsheets is kind of a prerequisite. But I do though, absolutely love ‘em! Ranking…Sorting…Logic Formulas… They give us so much power to crunch numbers.
Grab some data and see where it takes you. That’s exactly what I did this week to prep for the article. Let me walk you through it.
Like every one of you, I want to gain an edge in power. We all have the same numbers to evaluate but I like to try and find a different angle to peek at and find something others may be missing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s what keeps me coming back.
For today, I first grabbed some advanced batting statistics for the 2022 season. I set out looking at differences in Batted Ball data – Hard% versus Soft%. Barrels always pull me in like a magnet, so I added those to my spreadsheet as well. EV? Yep, need to sift through those too! Add in a dash of HardHit% and I think our recipe is all set. Throw it all in the Excel blender and let’s see what comes out.
Here is what I found:
Hard% – Soft%
- 26 MLB players had Hard% rates > 22% their Soft%
- Of the top 15 ranked HR hitters, 60% had rates > 22%
- 24 MLB players had Barrel% > 12%
- Of the top 15 ranked HR hitters, 53% were > 12%
- 15 MLB players had EV > 92 mph
- Of the top 15 ranked HR hitters, 60% had EV > 92 mph
- 21 MLB players had max EV > 114 mph
- Of the top 15 ranked HR hitters, 60% also had max EV > 114 mph
- 20 MLB players had HardHit% > 48%
- Of the top 15 ranked HR hitters, 60% had HardHit% > 48%
It’s really not much of a surprise to see the top HR hitters ranking higher in these categories. Again, we’re searching for just a little edge so instead of looking at any one category, I say let’s look across ALL of them.
When I did that, here is what I found:
- Of the top 15 ranked HR hitters, 73% of them placed in 2 or more of the categories.
- Looking beyond to the next 15 (16-30) ranked HR hitters, only 33% placed in 2 or more of the categories.
Although it is clearly weighted toward the top end, a total of 50% of the top 30 HR hitters were considered “elite” in multiple categories of these advanced stats.
Now we have something of a baseline to compare 2023 numbers to. Do current season numbers align with these findings? No, not really.
- 57 players (over twice as many) have rates > 22%
- 37 players have Barrel% > 12%
- 32 players have EV > 92 mph
- 22 players have max EV > 114 mph
- 35 players have HardHit% > 48%
Totaling it all up, we find:
- Of the top 15 ranked HR hitters, 93% of them currently place in 2 or more of these categories.
- Looking beyond to the next 15 (16-30) ranked HR hitters, 73% place in 2 or more of the categories.
That means 83%, or 25, of current top 30 ranked HR hitters are considered elite (by my definition) in 2 or more of these categories.
2022 (50%) and 2023 (83%). Not correlating very well yet.
Obviously these categories are still normalizing for all players so we can’t yet make definitive predictions for the top 15 HR hitters.
However, logic and a bit of statistics tell us it’s probably a good bet that the majority of the top HR hitters will come from the 25 players currently ranking amongst league leaders in these categories.
Here are those 25 players and the corresponding categories they score in:
The math isn’t perfect and there are a number of factors in play that is out of our control. However, the 2022 numbers by comparison tell us it’s likely the vast majority of the top HR hitters come October are listed in the table above.
I’ll come back to this list later in the season and see how well the predictions are. For today though, you may want to consider buying some of these players if you can.
Anyway, there you have it. I wasn’t sure where this journey would end up when I started but it looks like there’s a little smoke here. Thanks again for traveling with me on this ride through the wonderful world of baseball analytics. As I always say, keep sifting through the number. That’s where you find the gems!
Follow me on Twitter: @Derek_Favret.
Until next time, my friends!