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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How to Beat Statcast’s Hitting Metric | FanGraphs Baseball

At first glance, the relationship doesn’t appear to be particularly strong. To receive an r-squared of .27, however, between two stats that wouldn’t seemingly have a lot to do with each other, suggests that there’s something to this idea. Of the 28 batters above who recorded at least five runs on the bases over the last two years, all but one produced a positive xwOBA-wOBA. That one outlier is Gregory Polanco and his xwOBA-wOBA was .001. Those good baserunners, on average, beat their xwOBAs by 22 points per season in 2015 and 2016. The remaining players beat their xwOBA by an average of just two points per season in those years. At the very bottom, the 10 worst baserunners averaged a 15-point surplus in xwOBA compared to wOBA. The effect among slower players appears to be minimal when it comes to determining whether posting high xWOBAs (relative to observed wOBA) is some sort of skill. For the most part, it seems to have little to do with skill. So, in others words, if you see a player underperforming his xwOBA, it would seem that bad luck actually is involved.

On the other hand, if a player is posting an xwOBA lower than his wOBA, we can’t immediately jump to the conclusion that there’s a lot of good luck involved. Speed is a skill which has been stripped out of xwOBA. If a player can run out a lot of infield singles, that’s going to show up in wOBA, but not in xwOBA. If a player can turn a bunch of singles into doubles, that’s going to factor into wOBA, but not xwOBA. This doesn’t really discount xwOBA’s utility: after all, wOBA and wRC+ are fairly comprehensive offensive statistics, and they don’t account for a player’s offense once he reaches base. In addition, it still should be possible to identify players who have had good and bad luck simply by mentally compensating for speed a little bit. There should be a ton of great uses for xwOBA and we will get to more later, but we should keep in mind that players can beat xwOBA with their legs.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 17, 2017 at 10:37 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, statcast

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