Let’s look at the swing data.
Instead of the usual performance stats like wOBA and OPS, let’s look at some more basic metrics. Definitions of the individual measures follow:
- Swing Efficiency is balls put into play divided by swings. It does not address whether balls put into play were hits or outs. Data is from Baseball Reference.
- Exit speed is the speed at which the ball leaves the racquet. Average exit velocities were from a baseball savant search that excluded clenched balls.
- Hard Hit % is balls hit with an exit velocity of at least 95 MPH divided by balls hit. I haven’t found out if Baseball Reference’s calculation excludes buntballs.
- Line Drive % is balls batted with a launch angle between 10 and 25 degrees divided by balls batted. Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Savant don’t always seem to agree on line drive percentage. For consistency with hard hit data, line drive data is from Baseball Reference.
- HRs per PA are home runs divided by plate appearances. Data is from Baseball Reference.
The table below shows statistics for the Diamondback batters. Green means the stat was above the league average. The league and team averages are at the bottom of the table. The white spots indicate that Kelly and Herrera have yet to hit a homer.
What types of dough are there diamond markers?
The Venn diagram below shows which traits are above the league average. The Diamondbacks have many different types of batters this season.
However, there are no clubs that are swing efficient with a high proportion of hard hits and line drives. Ketel Marte comes the closest – he’s just missing a line drive percentage above the league average, and that line drive percentage is very close to the league average.
How did their swings rank?
For each criterion, if a batter is above the league average, points are awarded. The clubs are then ranked by total points. The following are the criteria and point values:
- Swing efficiency, 40 points.
- Hard hit %, 15 points.
- Home runs per PA, 15 points.
- Average exit speed for home runs, 5 points
- Line Drive %, 15 points.
- Average exit speed for line drives, 10 points.
The table below shows the results in order of priority.
Christian Walker’s swing score led the Diamondbacks. He’s a more multidimensional racquet than many fans give him credit for.
It may come as a surprise that Christian Walker is leading the team, as his .201 BA and .297 OBP are close to Bob Uecker’s .200 and .293 lines this season. Still, I think he has the best swing.
Christian Walker’s batting stats (like OBP and wOBA) are likely to improve in the final half of the season. Two reasons follow:
- This season, only 4 batsmen have undercut their xwOBA by more than Christian Walker has undercut his xwOBA, according to this FanGraphs article. This article points out that his BABIP is unsustainably low at 0.180 and Statcast data shows his BA should be 0.275.
- I believe Christian Walker has an overall great swing (based on swing efficiency, hard hit %, home runs per PA, and line drive exit speed).
The second and third best swings are Alek Thomas and Ketel Marte. Her excellent performances (everyone has an OPS+ of 121) confirm that her swings are great.
What’s going on with Daulton Varsho? His OPS+ is 108 while his swing score is low. His swing efficiency, hard hit %, and line drive % averages are all very close to the league average. His low score really reflected the binary nature of the swing score calculation (all above league average and no below league average). In my view, next season at the latest, he will make small improvements in every area and rise to a top swing score.
Despite having too few PAs to rank, what would Buddy Kennedy have scored?
Based on his first 11 PAs, his swing would have been second best. This is impressive! His Grans Slam was impressive. Nevertheless, only players with at least 60 PAs were counted.
Six batsmen have superior batting: Christian Walker, Alek Thomas, Ketel Marte, Jake McCarthy, Josh Rojas and David Peralta. Daulton Varsho is close to the league average in all attributes and is expected to have a superior swing next season. In his first 11 PAs, Buddy Kennedy shows the promise of a superior swing.