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Statcast Review: Corey Seager, Aaron Judge, Hunter Greene (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

Jun 30, 2022
Corey Seager

Another month of baseball is drawing to a close. Summer’s “dog days” are looming, and our fantasy baseball seasons are defining themselves.

We are at the point of the year where we must revisit some statistics and trends now that the sample sizes have grown large enough to account for more occurrences. We started this process last week with Rolling xwOBA, but this iteration will actually point back to one of the first articles written in this series.

The disconnect between actual and expected statistics continues to be one of the most important elements in predictive analysis. As I wrote previously, it is not necessarily a sign that a player will move directly to the expected number. It can be targeted, however, for a player to move toward said number.

Once again, we are looking for direction. Where should the numbers go from here?

Actual vs. Expected wOBA – Batters

As stated in the past, wOBA — weighted on-base average — is generally used as an overarching metric for performance. It isn’t perfect — because no singular statistic is — but it tells the narrative we want to read.

Below is a table of batters sorted by the difference between xwOBA and wOBA. Players with at least 300 plate appearances were used. A negative difference is better for batters, as it suggests a positive correction. For reference, the league averages as of the time this table was created are .310 wOBA, .329 xwOBA, and -0.019 difference. Weeks ago, the difference was actually slightly larger than it is today at -0.025, which shows that the group started to close the gap in the numbers.

Player PA wOBA xwOBA Difference
Corey Seager 313 0.316 0.388 -0.072
Marcell Ozuna 301 0.300 0.368 -0.068
Jose Abreu 313 0.357 0.421 -0.064
Whit Merrifield 328 0.262 0.326 -0.064
Juan Soto 328 0.361 0.413 -0.052
Shohei Ohtani 319 0.366 0.417 -0.051
Jesse Winker 311 0.315 0.366 -0.051
Kyle Schwarber 320 0.367 0.417 -0.05
Adam Frazier 308 0.265 0.309 -0.044
Aaron Judge 321 0.413 0.453 -0.04
Nick Castellanos 311 0.301 0.340 -0.039
Freddie Freeman 330 0.377 0.413 -0.036
Christian Yelich 319 0.319 0.354 -0.035
Austin Riley 317 0.355 0.388 -0.033
Bo Bichette 329 0.316 0.346 -0.03
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 316 0.373 0.402 -0.029
Anthony Rizzo 312 0.355 0.381 -0.026
Adolis Garcia 302 0.336 0.361 -0.025
Eugenio Suarez 320 0.335 0.357 -0.022
Alex Bregman 301 0.344 0.365 -0.021
Caesar Hernandez 338 0.292 0.312 -0.02
Dansby Swanson 310 0.372 0.386 -0.014
Francisco Lindor 326 0.325 0.339 -0.014
Matt Olson 331 0.358 0.371 -0.013
Cedric Mullins 327 0.302 0.313 -0.011
Andrew Benintendi 304 0.337 0.348 -0.011
Rhys Hoskins 316 0.346 0.353 -0.007
Tommy Edman 331 0.330 0.337 -0.007
J.P. Crawford 301 0.325 0.332 -0.007
Pete Alonso 317 0.386 0.392 -0.006
Jurickson Profar 328 0.335 0.341 -0.006
Marcus Semien 321 0.287 0.289 -0.002
Trea Turner 322 0.367 0.368 -0.001
Jake Cronenworth 334 0.322 0.321 0.001
Rafael Devers 323 0.420 0.411 0.009
Josh Bell 318 0.382 0.372 0.01
Julio Rodriguez 309 0.344 0.331 0.013
Ty France 311 0.380 0.365 0.015
Connor Joe 313 0.346 0.327 0.019
Nolan Arenado 307 0.365 0.343 0.022
C.J. Cron 322 0.378 0.348 0.03
Xander Bogaerts 305 0.380 0.337 0.043
Paul Goldschmidt 321 0.454 0.400 0.054
Jose Ramirez 300 0.415 0.359 0.056

Notes

  • Ignoring the players for a moment, one of the first observations exists solely in the numbers. Weeks ago, when the cutoff for plate appearances was only 40 — and fewer than 100 hitters were used — the biggest difference in the negative direction was -0.211. In fact, today’s leader at 300 plate appearances — Corey Seager at -0.072 — would have ranked eighth in the first version of this article. Once again, we can see that the “difference” is becoming less drastic with the larger sample size.
  • Aaron Judge appearing so high on the chart is simply unfair. The Yankees’ slugger is having a career year, but his xwOBA suggests it could be even better. It’s difficult to imagine how that could be the case, but essentially every lens through which we can view Judge and his numbers points in the same direction: up.
  • Shohei Ohtani is another name that may surprise us with his presence on this list. He continues to put up excellent numbers, but, like the aforementioned Judge, they could be even better. It’s a frightening thought. Juan Soto is also worth mentioning as he sits in the same range as Ohtani for wOBA, xwOBA, and difference. Still, the general commentary about his fantasy season is quite different. Soto is a relative disappointment compared to his general season-long expectations. Technically, this is true. Soto’s numbers could be better, as per the table. We should, however, put into context that his wOBA ranks in the top 20 among hitters with at least 300 plate appearances.
  • Initially, the table was split between players with negative and positive differences, respectively. Upon looking more closely, the group that would have made up the latter table was so small that it was not worth dedicating another section to them. That should serve as an overall optimistic outlook for the bulk of the hitters, as almost all of them — again, that reach the 300-plate appearance cutoff — are tilted in the right direction. There are some big names in the latter group — Julio Rodriguez, Nolan Arenado, Xander Bogaerts, Paul Goldschmidt, and Jose Ramirez — and it is worth following any potential downturn that might lead to an extended negative trend.

Actual vs. Expected wOBA – Pitchers

Below is a table of pitchers sorted by the difference between xwOBA and wOBA. Players with at least 300 plate appearances were used. A positive difference is better for pitchers, as it suggests a positive correction. Once again, the league averages as of when this table was created are .310 wOBA, .329 xwOBA, and -0.019 difference.

Player PA wOBA xwOBA Difference
Hunter Greene 305 0.354 0.333 0.021
Lucas Giolito 303 0.376 0.359 0.017
Dylan Cease 341 0.277 0.266 0.011
German Marquez 357 0.362 0.353 0.009
Ian Anderson 322 0.332 0.324 0.008
Carlos Carrasco 350 0.333 0.326 0.007
Tyler Mahle 372 0.304 0.299 0.005
JT Brubaker 345 0.325 0.321 0.004
Zack Wheeler 330 0.286 0.284 0.002
Nestor Cortes 311 0.269 0.267 0.002
Chris Bassitt 369 0.297 0.298 -0.001
Ranger Suarez 318 0.333 0.334 -0.001
Charlie Morton 348 0.331 0.335 -0.004
Robbie Ray 398 0.305 0.313 -0.008
Tarik Skubal 341 0.293 0.301 -0.008
Madison Bumgarner 323 0.344 0.352 -0.008
Jameson Taillon 323 0.306 0.314 -0.008
Aaron Nola 373 0.264 0.273 -0.009
Tyler Anderson 313 0.293 0.305 -0.012
Julio Urias 302 0.278 0.291 -0.013
Patrick Corbin 386 0.378 0.391 -0.013
Alek Manoah 346 0.254 0.268 -0.014
Sean Manaea 345 0.288 0.302 -0.014
Dane Dunning 355 0.321 0.336 -0.015
Merrill Kelly 351 0.300 0.315 -0.015
Brad Keller 334 0.322 0.337 -0.015
Kevin Gausman 360 0.288 0.304 -0.016
Carlos Rodon 346 0.261 0.277 -0.016
Erick Fedde 319 0.318 0.335 -0.017
Martin Perez 381 0.271 0.290 -0.019
Gerrit Cole 349 0.265 0.284 -0.019
Corbin Burnes 367 0.260 0.279 -0.019
Adrian Houser 323 0.319 0.338 -0.019
Sandy Alcantara 408 0.249 0.269 -0.020
Kyle Gibson 336 0.310 0.330 -0.020
Zach Davies 332 0.300 0.320 -0.020
Kyle Freeland 376 0.342 0.363 -0.021
Jordan Lyles 379 0.348 0.369 -0.021
Paul Blackburn 333 0.302 0.323 -0.021
Eric Lauer 309 0.322 0.344 -0.022
Chad Kuhl 326 0.309 0.331 -0.022
Kyle Wright 346 0.282 0.305 -0.023
Shane McClanahan 345 0.231 0.255 -0.024
Joe Musgrove 333 0.256 0.280 -0.024
Kyle Hendricks 319 0.345 0.369 -0.024
Logan Webb 370 0.280 0.305 -0.025
Josiah Gray 317 0.315 0.340 -0.025
Max Fried 376 0.257 0.284 -0.027
Frankie Montas 383 0.273 0.301 -0.028
Adam Wainwright 374 0.308 0.336 -0.028
Marco Gonzales 348 0.324 0.353 -0.029
Zac Gallen 314 0.283 0.314 -0.031
Pablo Lopez 353 0.288 0.320 -0.032
Framber Valdez 385 0.265 0.299 -0.034
Chris Flexen 334 0.340 0.375 -0.035
Cal Quantrill 318 0.313 0.350 -0.037
Shane Bieber 344 0.292 0.329 -0.037
Jose Quintana 321 0.305 0.342 -0.037
Jose Berrios 341 0.363 0.402 -0.039
Jose Urquidy 324 0.347 0.386 -0.039
Miles Mikolas 374 0.257 0.298 -0.041
Triston McKenzie 321 0.309 0.353 -0.044
Jordan Montgomery 343 0.280 0.325 -0.045
Dakota Hudson 332 0.313 0.359 -0.046
Justin Verlander 345 0.245 0.293 -0.048
Nick Pivetta 358 0.278 0.331 -0.053
Logan Gilbert 357 0.272 0.329 -0.057
Yu Darvish 352 0.254 0.316 -0.062
Zach Plesac 335 0.313 0.389 -0.076

Notes

  • Just like we saw with the hitters, the largest difference among qualified pitchers — Hunter Greene at 0.021 — would have fallen well short of the top of the list — 12th. It’s also a similar parallel to the hitters that there are far fewer players on the positive side of the scale than negative. Greene stands out as the leader, but Dylan Cease is also near the top with an impressive wOBA regardless of his expected number.
  • Nestor Cortes is enjoying a breakout campaign in 2022, but many in the fantasy baseball community doubt its lasting power. According to the table above, these doubts are unwarranted, and Cortes has his expected and actual wOBA aligned almost perfectly. If someone is looking to move on from Cortes because of an assumed regression, there might be an opportunity to acquire him for a lower price in a trade.
  • Shane McClanahan leads the above group in wOBA but has a decent gap between his actual and expected number. The noteworthy part of this discovery? He also leads the above group in xwOBA. That’s right. McClanahan is pitching so well that, even if he regressed to his xwOBA, he would still sit atop the chart.
  • Finally, we turn to the bottom of the table. It isn’t a pretty picture. Indeed, someone like Justin Verlander has enough wiggle room in his difference where he can still perform better than the bulk of pitchers. Still, Zach Plesac, Jose Urquidy, and Jose Berrios cannot afford to have their numbers move in the wrong direction. Right now, that appears to be a distinct possibility, and we should exercise caution when approaching these names.

Have something you want me to cover in this space, or do you just want to talk baseball? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @MarioMergola with questions or requests.

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Mario Mergola is a featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros and the creator and content editor of Sporfolio. For more from Mario, check out his archive and follow him @MarioMergola.

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