Who's Hot/Who's Not Week One
Welcome to our weekly installment of Who's Hot/Who's Not! This is bound to be a wacky season, so this will be exciting to track the statistical oddities throughout the season. Check out our prior blog posts to decode what these sabermetric statistics mean. These statistics were accurate as of before play on June 30th, 2020.
Kyle Lewis (OF Seattle Mariners):
Analysis: Lewis started off the year as a top 10 Mariners prospect and the shortened season (and lack of OF depth) allows him to get his feet wet. Granted, the advanced stats reveal he's an average hitter right ow, but those with him on their fantasy team will ride the wave for a few more games
Nelson Cruz (DH Minnesota Twins):
Statcast: 84th percentile exit velo, 96th xSLG, 93rd Barrel %
Analysis: Nelly has been ultra effective even at his age. This shouldn't come as a surprise as Cruz was at the top of the exit velo leader board last year. Given the power-filled lineup of the Twins don't allow opposing pitchers to take a breath, Cruz's power is here to stay.
Lance Lynn (SP Texas Rangers):
12IP, 17K's 3H,
84th exit velo, 89th xBA, 86th xSLG, 65th hard Hit
Analysis: Lynn's repertoire has relied on his 4-seamer this year, throwing it 65% of the time averaging around 94mph. Both starts were against above average offensive teams (Rockies and Diamondbacks), and the statcast numbers favor his dominance continuing.
Shohei Ohtani (SP Los Angeles Angels):
inf ERA, 6 Batters Faced, ERA+ 3
Analysis: Boy, this was tough to watch. The velo started low, which was to be expected coming back from Tommy John, but Ohtani simply couldn't place the ball. He ramped up to 97mph and bottomed out at 71mph, but did not record an out. After that outing, who knows what the plan is right now for Sho-time to pitch this year.
Josh Bell (1B/DH Pittsburgh Pirates):
.374 OPS, 8 OPS+
39th Exit velo, 33rd Hard Hit, 82nd xBA
Analysis: I've watched every Pirates game at this point, and Bell's just not squaring the ball up. He is making great contact in terms of his xBA (measures the expected batting average of balls that were hit in play), but it's not coming together for him. With the Pirates not the greatest offensive team in terms of protection, Bell may struggle to get great pitches to hit.
Adalberto Mondesi (SS Kansas City Royals):
.360 OPS, -1 OPS+
21% Hard Hit, 5th per in K, 59th Barrel
Analysis: Mondesi seems to have increased his launch angle from previous years (10 degrees last year to 16.1 this year), but this is severely hampering the type of player he is. Mondesi is usually in the top 90th percentile of sprint speed, but so far he's 74th meaning he's focusing o getting the ball in the air this year rather than slap hitting. I don't see this turning around any time soon give that he may be trying a new approach.
Shohei Ohtani (DH Los Angeles Angels):
75th xSLG 94th barrel
.210 BA, .526 OPS
Analysis: Ohtani's 2018 season saw most of his statcast stats to be at least in the 85th percentile. This year, he's an average hitter but is putting the barrel on the ball. This tells me he's perfect on the timing and just getting unlucky in the field. Give this two weeks, and you'll see Ohtani back to the tops of the leader boards in hitting as he was in 2018.
Tyler O'Neill (OF St Louis Cardinals):
76th velo, 89th hard hit, 96th barrel, 90th sprint speed, 91st xSLG
Analysis: O'Neill seems to have beefed up his frame this offseason, and it shows. He is absolutely crushing the ball right now, averaging around the 83rd percentile in all Statcast categories. The two most impressive is the aforementioned barrel and sprint speed. If O'Neill can keep this up, you may have an MVP candidate right here, especially with his gold glove caliber outfield play (currently at 93rd percentile in catch percentage).