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Statcast Review: DJ LeMahieu, Zach Davies, Eugenio Suarez

by Mike Maher | @mikeMaher | Featured Writer
Jul 28, 2021
Statcast Review: Eugenio Suarez

Greetings, friends, and welcome to another Statcast Review. This week, we’re going to circle back to a couple of my favorite topics that we have covered this season: Swing & Take and Run Value. We first talked about these metrics back in May, and I’m excited to dive in and see where things stand now that we have even more data available. Let’s get started.

Throughout this series, we’ll look at different Statcast metrics for batters and pitchers each week. We’ll talk numbers and what they mean, and I’ll provide some player-specific notes after each section. The metrics themselves will change on a weekly basis, and we’ll circle back to some of our favorites every few weeks to see what trends we can identify.

Have something you want me to cover in this space or just want to talk baseball? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher with questions or feedback anytime.

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Swing & Take / Run Value

This week, we will focus on the Swing & Take leaderboards and the Run Value numbers that come with them. The way Run Value works is this: every pitch is assigned one of four zones and a run value based on its outcome (ball, strike, home run, etc.). For a complete breakdown of how Run Value is calculated (note: it’s incredibly detailed and cross-checked based on historical data), Statcast links to this piece on the Tangotiger blog for a full explanation. As for the four zones, they are somewhat self-explanatory but are Heart, Shadow, Chase, and Waste. Here is a visual for reference:

Swing & Take Run Value – Pitchers

In the chart below, we have the Run Value numbers for every qualifying pitcher in the big leagues this season. We have a column for Heart, Shadow, Chase, and Waste and then a Run Value column that calculates the net runs allowed based on these values. For pitchers, we want negative numbers. Pitchers want to prevent runs. So, positive numbers (the blue ones) are bad. Negative numbers (red) are good. The default sorting for these is by LOWEST (best) Run Value, but feel free to click around, search, and sort it however you like.

Remember: Red = good. Blue = bad.

Note: This table is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!

Notes

  • When we first looked at these Swing & Take Run Value numbers back in MayBrandon Woodruff led all pitchers with a -22 Net Run Value. Now, it's even better, at -33. His -28 Shadow number is tied for the best in baseball with Walker Buehler, and only Woodruff, Buehler, and Jacob deGrom have Net Run Values below -3o. deGrom is also one of only two pitchers with a Net Run Value of zero in the Chase reason (there are no negative values in this region).
  • Freddy Peralta has by far the best numbers in the Heart region. His -28 Net Run Value in that region is easily the best in baseball, and only Peralta, Kevin Gausman, and Carlos Rodon have numbers at -20 or below.
  • Matt Barnes has a Net Run Value of -13 and doesn't have bad numbers in any of the four regions. Only Barnes and Greg Holland have a Net Run Value of zero in the Waste region.
  • When we talked back in May, we touched on Zach Davies and his odd numbers. Those numbers are absolutely wild now. His -24 Run Value in the Shadow region is Top 10 among qualifying pitchers, just ahead of Gerrit Cole. His +22 Run Value in the Chase region is the worst in all of baseball. His +8 in the Waste region is in the bottom tier, as well.

Swing & Take Run Value - Batters

In the chart below, we have the Run Value numbers for every qualifying batter in the big leagues this season. For batters, we want positive Run Value numbers. This chart is sorted by positive Run Value (the most runs created), but feel free to click around, search for players, and sort these columns however you like. This chart is dynamic, so you can play around a bit.

Remember: Red = good. Blue = bad.

Note: This table is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!


Notes

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Shohei Ohtani. They're just stupid good. Vlad led the league with a +28 number when we checked back in May, and he has that number up to a ridiculous +49 now. Ohtani was at +15 back then and has jumped all the way to +37.
  • In a world without Vlad and Ohtani, Rafael Devers might just be the American League MVP in 2021. His +34 is tied with Max Muncy as the best number behind those two, and only these four players and J.D. Martinez and Fernando Tatis Jr. have Net Run Values above 30.
  • Remember early in the season when people were worried about Freddie Freeman? He's back to being one of the best (and perhaps underrated?) hitters in baseball. He's just outside the Top 5 here, at +29.
  • DJ LeMahieu has a Net Run Value of just +5, and his -20 number in the Heart range is tied for the worst mark in baseball. He makes up for it with a +19 number in the Chase region, but that is a concerning number. LeMahieu is having a down season just one year into a six-year, $90 million contract with the Yankees and is already 33 years old. Are the Yankees going to regret that deal sooner rather than later?

  • The worst number in the Shadow region among qualifying hitters? That belongs to Eugenio Suarez with a whopping -30, contributing to his overall Net Run Value number of -20. Only Elvis AndrusJackie Bradley Jr., and Kevin Newman have worse Net Run Value numbers than Suarez, and those four players are the only hitters below -20. Suarez has 19 home runs this season but is batting just .173 with a .256 OBP and a strikeout rate north of 30%. His strikeout rate has increased in five straight seasons.
  • Do you know who has been somewhat quietly having an excellent season? Chris Taylor. His +28 Net Run Value is up there with the best of them, right behind Freddie Freeman and ahead of names like Nick Castellanos and Juan Soto.
  • Xander Bogaerts and Ronald Acuna Jr(sad face) are tied with the second-best Net Run Value number in the Shadow region, at +7. Shohei Ohtani leads the way with an absolutely ridiculous +19.

Have a look around and try sorting the columns or searching for players you're interested in. Find anything that sticks out? Let's talk about it!

That's all for this week, friends. See someone above you'd like to talk more about, or just have a general question? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher anytime.

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Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaherand visit his Philadelphia Eagles blogThe Birds Blitz.

 

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