Last week, I delivered the first installment of what we’re calling The Stat Dozen. That edition was focused on pitching; this week I turn my attention to hitting.
* All 2016 stats through June 6 (min. 80 PA). 2015 stats: min. 200 PA
Best OPS (On-base plus slugging)
|David Ortiz||Red Sox||1.156|
|Jung Ho Kang||Pirates||1.014|
|(2015) Bryce Harper||Nationals||1.109|
Who could have predicted this group would be here over two months into the season? After watching Peyton Manning limp to the finish line of his career, it’s refreshing to see a legend go out in style. But given his early season dominance, at what point does the 40-year-old Ortiz consider extending his career one more season?
|(2015) Rene Rivera||Rays||.489|
Sans Carl Crawford (who was released last week), the worst four hitters in baseball are still getting consistent playing time. That might make sense for the awful Braves (although you could make a case that Pierzynski and Aybar should be replaced by younger options), but there’s no reason for the Nationals to stick with Revere as their everyday left fielder (and LEADOFF HITTER!)
Batters that pull the ball the most
|(2015) Brian Dozier||Rays||60.2|
When the Red Sox signed OF Chris Young last off-season, many praised the move because of Young’s pull tendencies fitting well at Fenway Park. In spite of limited playing time in a crowded outfield, Young has performed well thus far in 2016 (.295/.368/.577).
Batters that pull the ball the least
|(2015) D.J. LeMahieu||Rockies||21.2|
Although every hitter in the history of baseball has tried to “stay up the middle and to the opposite field,” this group has put their money where their mouth is. Former Cubs farmhand LeMahieu in particular has proven to be a consistent opposite-fielder hitter throughout his career.
Batters that make the hardest contact
|Player||Team||Hard Contact %|
|Jung Ho Kang||Pirates||51.5|
|David Ortiz||Red Sox||47.5|
|Justin Smoak||Blue Jays||44.8|
|(2015) Giancarlo Stanton||Marlins||49.7|
The Pirates third baseman is proving that his superb rookie season was no fluke. Kang ranks 3rd in the NL in OPS and has made more hard contact than any hitter through the first two months of the season.
Batters that make the softest contact
|Player||Team||Soft Contact %|
|(2015) Jarrod Dyson||Royals||31.8|
When the Astros traded for the volatile Gomez last summer, they were counting on one and a half years of production in return. Unfortunately, he has yet to find his rhythm in 2016, posting a disappointing slash line of .186/.240/.271 in 140 at-bats.
|(2015) Pablo Sandoval||Red Sox||47.8|
O-Swing % is calculated by the number of pitches a batter swings at outside the zone divided by the total number of pitches outside the zone. Once deemed “The Natural” by Sports Illustrated, Francoeur is now the Braves starting left fielder and cleanup hitter. Lest that lead you to believe he has turned into a good player, Francoeur has produced a league-average OBP (.319) and SLG (.397) so far in 2016.
|Alex Avila||White Sox||14.8|
|(2015) A.J. Ellis||Dodgers||14.2|
After finishing 2015 as poorly as possible (0-for-28), Joyce has been one of the most surprising players of 2016. The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training to compete for the fourth outfielder spot. After earning his stay in the spring, Joyce has gotten on base in over 46% of his 90 plate appearances, to go along with a .662 slugging percentage.
Batters that see the most fastballs
|(2015) A.J. Ellis||Dodgers||69.3|
Typically, batters that see lots of fastballs are either a) bad hitters or b) good base stealers. Or in the case of Billy Hamilton, both.
Batters that see the least fastballs
|Jung Ho Kang||Pirates||42.5|
|(2015) Pedro Alvarez||Pirates||47.3|
Predicted by many to be in the cellar of the AL East, the Orioles have been one of the three best teams in the AL over the first two months of the season. One of the main reasons for the O’s outperforming preseason predictions has been Trumbo, who has hit 20 bombs (MLB leader).
Most runs per game
|(2015) Blue Jays||5.5|
The Red Sox lineup has been even better than the vaunted Blue Jays attack from last year. My favorite Red Sox stat? Heading into play on Sunday, the Red Sox have averaged over one run per first inning so far this year.
Least runs per game
One of the more amazing things that’s occurred so far this year is the Braves 15-game homerless streak in April. Atlanta is now up to 23 team HR, which is just three more than Mark Trumbo and less than half as many as the next team (Royals: 47).