MLB Edition: Did You Realize…?by John Keller June 3, 2021 0 comments
Now that we’re a couple of months into the season, it is interesting to look at some advanced stats that are surprising from various players. Since the following was a surprise to me, I’m guessing much of the information here will be tidbits that you didn’t realize. You’ll notice that top-tier players like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. would rank high on the lists. So let’s focus on players that have been flying under the radar.
Stats are through May 31st.
Did you realize where the following players are currently ranked in WAR (wins above replacement) according to fangraphs.com?
- Max Muncy has the 5th highest WAR (after hitting .192 last year)
- Marcus Semien ranks 9th on the list (he hit .223 with little power in 2020)
- Kevin Gausman sits at 12th (he might be my current pick for NL Cy Young)
- Yoan Moncada checks in at the 15th spot (and that’s after a dreadful start of the season – he’s been incredible in May)
- Jesse Winker is the 18th overall player (the breakout has arrived)
- Buster Posey ranks 21st (he was basically free in our fantasy drafts just a couple of months ago)
- Adolis Garcia is already up to the 24th spot (he wasn’t even in the majors for the first two weeks of the season and already has 16 home runs).
- Joey Wendle rounds out the top 30 list (not bad for a guy who most of us felt was just a utility player coming into the year)
On the negative side of the WAR list, did you realize that…
- Trevor Story can’t be found until you get to 164 on the list (he was a sure-fire first-round pick in fantasy drafts in March)
- Freddie Freeman is even lower, coming in at 171 (this seems a bit odd considering he does have 12 home runs)
- Brandon Lowe is just barely inside the top 200 at number 197 (you don’t have to squint to see Vidal Brujan coming soon to take Lowe’s spot)
- Yankee stalwart DJ LeMahieu is all the way down at 215 (that’s what 3 home runs, 14 RBI, and a .262 batting average will do for you after two months of a season)
Did you realize where the following hitters are currently ranked in Exit Velocity according to baseballsavant.com?
- Evan Longoria is second in average exit velocity in all of baseball at 95.7 mph (not bad for a 35-year-old who hasn’t been an above-average player since 2016)
- Manny Machado is 5th on the list (hard to believe he’s only hitting .233, probably a good sign that better days are coming soon him)
- Jorge Soler comes in at number 8 (shocking that he only has four home runs)
- Ryan McMahon sits at the 11th spot on the list (one of the few Rockies bright spots in 2021)
- Tyler Naquin ranks number 27 (pretty good for a player who has been in the majors for the past five years but was never able to find a full-time role)
Did you realize where the following pitchers rank in Expected Batting Average (xBA) according to baseballsavant.com?
- Among starting pitchers, Freddy Peralta is ranked #3 with a .152 xBA (the breakout is real folks)
- Among relief pitchers, overlooked Heath Hembree is #4 with a .136 xBA, Austin Adams is #6 with a .142 xBA, and Justin Steele is ranked #8 with a .152 xBA (also, Jimmy Nelson is tops on the list with a .116 xBA but he’s injured and it’s not known when he’ll return).
- Three White Sox starting pitchers are in the top ten: Carlos Rodon at #5, Lance Lynn at #7, and Dylan Cease at #10 (there’s the answer as to why Chicago is winning so many games)
- Triston McKenzie is #15 on the starting pitchers list (if he could only throw more strikes, he could be elite)
- Luis Garcia is just inside the starting pitcher top 20 at #19 (he gets overlooked in the Astros’ rotation but he has made eight starts already in 2021)
- Justin Dunn comes in at 24th among starting pitchers (while not yet elite, he’s taken a nice step up this season)
Did you realize where the following hitters rank in Expected Weighted On-Base Average according to baseballsavant.com? (xwOBA, unlike WAR, takes defense out of the equation and factors in a combination of exit velocity, sprint speed, and launch angle).
- The expected studs populate the top of this list until we come to #10 where we find Tyler O’Neill (he’s been a fascinating prospect for years and the talent may now be coming to fruition)
- Carson Kelly is next on the list at #11 (he only has a little over 100 at-bats but he’s been incredibly productive in those limited opportunities)
- Trey Mancini checks in at the 18th spot (nice to see him come back after cancer treatments in 2020)
- Alex Kirilloff is right behind Mancini at #19 (the Minnesota rookie looks to be the real deal for the Twins)
- Darin Ruf checks in at #26 on this list (he only has 100 plate appearances and has to be the most unlikely name on any of these lists)
Follow John Keller on Twitter @johnkeller2009
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images