With baseball executives taking new steps to understand the game, and baseball writers and analysts developing new methods to analyze play on the field, the baseball sabermetric revolution is in full swing.
Although the process really started with Bill James and his Baseball Abstracts in the 1980s, the baseball stat revolution didn’t start to take off until the Moneyball days of the Oakland Athletics, where on-base percentage took the crown from batting average as the crown jewel of baseball stats.
Now 15 years later, all new stats abound, from wRC+ and wOBA, to FIP and SIERA, and all the way to the Statcast system, which has brought us exit velocity, launch angle, catch probability, and on and on.
Given the state of advanced stats in the game today, there has never been a better time to find new ways to understand the game we all love.
With that spirit in mind, this will be a new series from East Village Times in which a plethora of stats will be discussed as they pertain to the San Diego Padres.
Each week we will list five to 10 interesting stats about the current Padres team or specific players.
Then we will focus in on one specific stat and do a deep dive in order to better understand how it works, how it is used, and what purpose it can serve in evaluating players both in the present and in the future.
Without further ado, happy Stat-ing.
- After a strong start to the season, Wil Myers has struggled for much of the last two-plus months. Myers now sports a 30.6 percent strikeout rate, which is the ninth worst in baseball among qualified players. Since May 1, Myers is slashing just .217/.326/.394 with a 94 wRC+. Myers has seen dips in both his ISO (.177) and BABIP (.288), but he has seen a rather significant jump in his walk rate, from around two percent in April to a walk rate just shy of 14 percent over the last two plus months. Myers is still making lots of good contact, but he has also seen increases in his infield fly percentage (up to 19 percent after sitting at around 11 percent through April) and a slight uptick in ground balls and rather significant decrease in line drives (from over 30 percent to just 15 percent over the last two months). There is clearly no easy fix for Myers going forward.
- After struggling a bit in his first few tastes of big league action, second baseman Carlos Asauje has been performing well lately, pushing his season wRC+ up to 100, exactly league average. Despite sporting a higher walk rate than strikeout rate in Triple-A this season, Asuaje has struck out nearly four times as much as he has walked so far in the major leagues. However, Asuaje has shown himself to be a great baserunner so far, at 0.6 BsR through just 14 games this season.
- Phil Maton has arguably been the Padres’ best reliever since his promotion to the big leagues last month. Maton has now pitched 10.1 innings in total, and has given up only two earned runs while striking out 14 batters to only one batter walked. Maton has exceeded by attacking the zone, with a 53.8 percent zone percentage, and has accumulated lots of swings and misses, with a 17 percent swinging strike percentage. Maton also has kept up his high spin rate, as he trails only Brad Hand in spin rate on the Padres so far this year.
- Over the last 14 days, the San Diego Padres have had arguably the best bullpen in baseball. Over the last 40.1 innings pitched by the Padres’ bullpen, which covers those 14 days, the Padres have led the league in bullpen FIP, are second in bullpen xFIP, second in soft hit rate, and are 10th in swinging strike rate. Over the last seven days, the Friars’ bullpen has the lowest walk rate of any bullpen in all of baseball at just 3.9 percent, add that to a 26.9 percent strikeout rate and the Padres’ pen has been one of the best in all of baseball. Between, Maton, Hand, Ryan Buchter, Brandon Maurer, and Kirby Yates, the Padres have quietly put together a rather complete bullpen.
- Among players with at least 100 batted ball events, Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe ranks consistently well in various Statcast metrics, including average exit velocity, fly ball exit velocity, average distance, average home run distance, etc. By almost all these measures, Renfroe is consistently among the top 30 or so players in all of baseball. On top of that, Renfroe also may have the best throwing arm of any outfielder in baseball, as he has consistently thrown bullets all around the diamond. There are still lots of kinks to work out in Renfroe’s game, most importantly his issue with strikeouts and plate discipline, but the underlying skills are certainly there.