xBA on Fastballs vs. Offspeed Pitches, Part 2
In Part 1 of Expected Batting Average: Fastballs vs. Offspeed Pitches, I took a look at some hitters who we could reasonably expect to regress. We found that Francisco Mejia and Sam Hilliard were guys who we could expect to negatively regress, based on them struggling against fastballs, and have the potential to see additional fastballs thrown to them as a result.
Today, we'll begin by taking look at hitters who are pretty consistent against fastballs and offspeed pitches, and whether that is good or bad. Let's start with this graph:
The key takeaways:
- Aristedes Aquino is due for some major regression! He struggles against both fastballs and offspeed pitches. His 195 ADP as of February 1 is a bit too rich for my blood
- Jeff McNeil, Carlos Santana, and Nolan Arenado are who we thought they were
- Hanser Alberto gets mocked for his low average exit velocity and hard hit rate, but his lack of whiffs carries his fantasy relevance. When I do a separate piece on xSLG by type of pitch, that's when we will see the flaws in his game.
- Baez has consistently proven that he outperforms his xBA, so seeing him have good-not-great xBAs on both fastballs and offspeed pitches is not surprising.
The one guy that is (rightfully) getting helium this draft season is JD. Davis. He does well on both fastballs and offspeed pitches. However, He clearly gets thrown a ton of fastballs, and I will be interested to see how he adjusts as pitching staffs realize that he needs to see more secondary offerings.
Finally, here's a preview of who fares well on fastballs, compared to offspeed pitches:
This list shouldn't surprise many, given that some of the best hitters in the game reside here. However, there a couple key takeaways:
- We know that Joey Gallo has trouble hitting for average, but actually seeing that he hit 100 basis points better on fastballs than offspeed pitches, when his xBA was only .254 to begin with, is just crazy. There is no way that Gallo repeats his .253 average in 2020. That, combined with the injury concerns I have (I'm expecting around 575 plate appearances), I won't be drafting Gallo this year. You can get Nelson Cruz in a similar spot in your draft for the same home run production and a better average.
- The same idea applies to Rhys Hoskins, but without the injury concerns. Hoskins is going 20-25 picks later than Gallo. Even with Hoskins' additional 85 projected plate appearances, he is projected to have less homers, similar counting stats, and only a slight better average. In other words, I don't think I'm taking either of these guys.
- From 2018 to 2019, Joey Votto saw a 4% decrease in fastballs, 1% inc. in breakers, 3% inc. in offspeed pitches. Let's see how that played out for him.
I bet he keeps seeing less FBs, and his average ends up around .260. I would love to see a bounceback, but I don't see how that is going to happen.
- For Miguel Sano, just check this tweet:
Next, we'll dive deeper into breaking balls. Enjoy the ride!