The Z Files: Raking Since the Break

The Z Files: Raking Since the Break

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

The recipe is pretty simple. The harder the exit velocity of a batted ball, the better the chance of it being a hit. Here is a visualization of the BABIP data since 2018, parsing contact into grounders, outfield line drives and flyballs, over the following exit velocities:

  • 95-100
  • 100-105
  • 105-110
  • 100+

I'm not especially interested in the trends, at least not yet. I'll revisit the data when deciding how to regress batted ball data for projections, especially if MLB institutes legislation of the shift. For today, the pretty colored graphs serve as a foundation when the stats for several batters are dissected.

Specifically, batted ball data since the break will be reviewed. Everyone with at least 75 plate appearances through Sunday's action will be included.

The underlying notion is players crushing the ball since the break have a better chance to be productive down the stretch. It can be argued acquiring the hitters now is too late as they are not likely to maintain this elevated level of performance. Maybe, maybe not. That's the holy grail. In a vacuum, the data is not predictive but we all have to make choices and some intriguing numbers will be presented. 

I'm going to pick out several players I'd like to discuss. If there is someone else you'd like handled, please post their name in the comments and I'll be happy to oblige. 

BatterPAAVGSLGwOBAExitVelLABABIP95-100100-105105-110>110
1Matt Chapman800.2940.6760.44695.6

The recipe is pretty simple. The harder the exit velocity of a batted ball, the better the chance of it being a hit. Here is a visualization of the BABIP data since 2018, parsing contact into grounders, outfield line drives and flyballs, over the following exit velocities:

  • 95-100
  • 100-105
  • 105-110
  • 100+

I'm not especially interested in the trends, at least not yet. I'll revisit the data when deciding how to regress batted ball data for projections, especially if MLB institutes legislation of the shift. For today, the pretty colored graphs serve as a foundation when the stats for several batters are dissected.

Specifically, batted ball data since the break will be reviewed. Everyone with at least 75 plate appearances through Sunday's action will be included.

The underlying notion is players crushing the ball since the break have a better chance to be productive down the stretch. It can be argued acquiring the hitters now is too late as they are not likely to maintain this elevated level of performance. Maybe, maybe not. That's the holy grail. In a vacuum, the data is not predictive but we all have to make choices and some intriguing numbers will be presented. 

I'm going to pick out several players I'd like to discuss. If there is someone else you'd like handled, please post their name in the comments and I'll be happy to oblige. 

BatterPAAVGSLGwOBAExitVelLABABIP95-100100-105105-110>110
1Matt Chapman800.2940.6760.44695.621.80.38765.8%50.0%26.3%5.3%
2Tommy Pham960.2420.4070.28893.35.40.33962.7%42.4%15.3%1.7%
3Yordan Alvarez930.2670.5200.37493.711.70.30061.8%45.5%23.6%9.1%
4Teoscar Hernandez780.2960.5920.39995.413.30.32061.8%41.8%29.1%5.5%
5Aaron Judge1030.3720.9360.57495.818.50.40060.4%50.9%41.5%20.8%
6Max Muncy820.2680.5630.38494.521.40.32656.3%35.4%16.7%0.0%
7Ronald Acuna890.2960.4070.33390.77.60.34955.6%34.9%22.2%3.2%
8Paul Goldschmidt780.3180.7270.46492.413.60.29554.9%39.2%19.6%0.0%
9Manny Machado1030.2870.5740.37992.618.10.32854.3%32.9%12.9%1.4%
10Adolis Garcia1000.3190.5160.38592.710.50.40353.0%31.8%15.2%4.5%
11Vladimir Guerrero890.3410.5610.40393.54.30.37352.9%47.1%28.6%12.9%
12DJ LeMahieu990.2790.4650.36491.13.10.29452.8%29.2%6.9%0.0%
13Juan Soto940.2860.4710.41191.510.90.32152.6%36.8%19.3%3.5%
14Luke Voit830.2570.4290.34690.521.80.36652.3%36.4%13.6%2.3%
15Anthony Santander900.3450.5950.41891.620.90.37552.2%34.8%18.8%2.9%
16Kyle Schwarber810.2220.4860.3309216.30.25052.1%43.8%29.2%12.5%
17Trent Grisham790.2460.5800.38286.911.40.24451.9%34.6%11.5%3.8%
18Jose Abreu950.2840.4320.32691.65.40.33851.5%33.8%17.6%5.9%
19AJ Pollock760.3030.5450.39188.39.40.31550.9%29.8%15.8%1.8%
20Austin Riley960.3260.5930.41794.616.40.39150.7%47.8%28.4%11.9%
21Pete Alonso940.3500.6250.4369114.20.37750.0%37.9%19.7%6.1%
22Lourdes Gurriel800.3150.3700.32791.49.50.37749.2%36.1%4.9%0.0%
23MJ Melendez1000.2670.5000.36091.6130.32149.2%34.4%14.8%0.0%
24Hunter Renfroe870.2530.5730.38790.914.30.24549.1%40.4%12.3%3.5%
25Jose Miranda810.3330.4930.37992.314.30.40749.1%24.6%8.8%0.0%
26Michael Harris780.3150.5480.38588.92.10.39649.0%35.3%17.6%5.9%
27Donovan Solano780.3380.4850.37889.7110.42049.0%32.7%2.0%0.0%
28Randal Grichuk860.3500.5500.40292.680.43948.3%36.7%23.3%3.3%
29Brandon Lowe780.2220.3890.29190.813.90.26548.1%25.0%11.5%0.0%
30Andrew Vaughn830.2990.4940.36190.212.10.30847.8%25.4%6.0%3.0%
31Eloy Jimenez870.3830.5680.41891.49.40.42947.8%28.4%20.9%6.0%
32Nolan Arenado780.3140.7140.45090.520.50.28847.5%33.9%10.2%0.0%
33Francisco Lindor940.3620.5750.43589.911.60.42446.8%27.4%4.8%0.0%
34Brendan Rodgers1020.3700.4890.38790.73.10.41046.8%29.1%15.2%0.0%
35Ben Gamel860.2050.3420.28889.612.90.24646.6%24.1%8.6%0.0%
36Yandy Diaz810.1740.3480.28891.19.60.16446.6%24.1%10.3%1.7%
37Ian Happ860.3010.4220.32289.41.50.43646.3%27.8%14.8%0.0%
38Bo Bichette760.2740.4930.32789.918.40.33346.3%31.5%9.3%1.9%
39Kyle Tucker830.2370.4340.30687.818.10.24246.2%23.1%6.2%0.0%
40Jonah Heim830.2170.3620.32090.717.60.27546.2%21.2%1.9%0.0%
41Will Smith880.2950.5000.36590.318.10.33346.0%25.4%6.3%0.0%
42Josh Bell910.1780.2740.27189.98.60.20745.8%20.3%10.2%0.0%
43Nathaniel Lowe990.3480.5760.4129011.80.45245.5%33.3%18.2%3.0%
44Jurickson Profar1040.2870.4680.35288.914.60.32945.3%25.3%5.3%0.0%
45Riley Greene1040.2200.3300.245894.40.32345.3%29.7%9.4%3.1%
46Freddie Freeman990.3130.4580.37191.614.40.32945.3%22.7%10.7%0.0%
47Josh Donaldson880.2250.3880.29891.96.20.31445.3%32.1%17.0%1.9%
48Ryan McMahon830.2500.5000.35588.690.28345.1%21.6%9.8%3.9%
49Matt Olson950.2290.5060.35191.511.90.22645.0%36.7%18.3%5.0%
50Shohei Ohtani960.2370.5500.36291.814.80.22245.0%31.7%18.3%1.7%
51Mookie Betts1090.3130.5860.3999117.30.30544.8%27.6%10.3%0.0%
52Jesus Aguilar820.1890.3920.26789.520.50.19644.6%21.4%16.1%0.0%
53Xander Bogaerts910.2530.4100.3099016.40.31144.4%27.0%9.5%0.0%
54Josh Naylor800.2760.4210.31689.79.40.31744.3%26.2%14.8%4.9%
55Oneil Cruz780.1940.4170.283892.60.23744.2%20.9%16.3%9.3%
56Bryson Stott830.2990.4160.33389.7120.32444.1%19.1%1.5%0.0%
57Christian Walker930.2670.5000.33589.519.60.26543.8%30.1%15.1%2.7%
58Alec Bohm930.3330.4480.35189.715.40.38643.7%26.8%11.3%0.0%
59Cedric Mullins870.2990.4550.33987.66.40.33943.5%24.2%8.1%0.0%
60Gavin Lux820.3100.4790.37388.73.70.35643.3%21.7%3.3%0.0%
61Dansby Swanson990.2720.3480.29089.415.40.37543.1%20.0%6.2%0.0%
62Joey Votto930.1920.3970.31989.69.30.20443.1%29.4%11.8%0.0%
63JJ Bleday850.2130.3870.30388.219.20.28042.3%21.2%3.8%0.0%
64Vinnie Pasquantino870.3080.5260.37589.512.50.30842.0%23.2%8.7%1.4%
65Javier Baez950.2760.4020.31789.360.36741.9%30.6%12.9%3.2%
66Sean Murphy850.2540.4790.37188.38.10.26941.1%33.9%10.7%5.4%
67Randy Arozarena830.2800.4670.35289.97.10.34041.1%35.7%21.4%1.8%
68Rowdy Tellez760.2810.6090.40289.918.70.27940.8%30.6%18.4%6.1%
69Christian Yelich960.2530.3540.32490.70.10.37040.7%35.2%18.5%5.6%
70Gleyber Torres940.1670.2670.20688.321.90.21040.6%21.9%6.3%0.0%
71Adley Rutschman930.3000.4570.40688.2100.35740.4%28.1%12.3%1.8%
72Daulton Varsho840.2820.5350.3838919.90.30240.4%21.1%7.0%0.0%
73Ramon Urias860.2150.3670.26186150.23740.3%14.5%4.8%0.0%
74Luis Rengifo990.2950.4740.34088.29.40.32540.2%18.3%2.4%0.0%
75Willson Contreras800.2500.5150.37685.110.20.26040.0%32.0%14.0%2.0%
76Patrick Wisdom790.2350.4710.34187.522.60.27940.0%28.9%20.0%2.2%
77Seiya Suzuki880.1710.3170.23087.510.20.18640.0%20.0%1.7%0.0%
78Andrew McCutchen870.2570.4460.34790.914.30.27939.7%30.2%7.9%1.6%
79Alex Bregman960.3330.5950.42188.318.50.32439.5%22.4%5.3%0.0%
80Harold Castro880.2980.3930.31587.417.20.35839.4%18.2%3.0%0.0%
81Jorge Mateo760.3330.6110.41187.915.20.38539.3%26.8%14.3%0.0%
82Rhys Hoskins930.2720.4940.37088.5180.31539.0%28.8%8.5%0.0%
83Josh Rojas850.3030.4210.33889.89.10.32338.8%17.9%3.0%0.0%
84Trea Turner1000.3090.5150.34588.514.40.32938.6%26.5%13.3%1.2%
85Brandon Belt750.1880.2340.25283.329.10.25538.3%17.0%4.3%0.0%
86Cody Bellinger800.2030.5140.30689.620.90.18238.3%18.3%1.7%0.0%
87Jared Walsh890.1730.2840.22887.88.40.24138.2%20.0%7.3%0.0%
88Carlos Santana760.1230.3080.23487.9230.09638.2%21.8%1.8%0.0%
89Taylor Ward980.2070.3560.28388.117.70.21938.2%17.6%1.5%0.0%
90Corey Seager870.2670.4800.36389.38.60.27138.1%23.8%9.5%0.0%
91Amed Rosario1100.2760.4570.32788.88.40.30137.9%23.0%6.9%0.0%
92Eugenio Suarez940.1690.3250.2889019.60.22237.5%20.8%10.4%4.2%
93Ha-Seong Kim790.2760.4210.31188.215.90.34537.3%23.7%1.7%0.0%
94Luis Urias790.2650.4710.35487.4210.29437.0%16.7%1.9%0.0%
95Jeremy Pena960.2170.3370.24785.62.70.26136.6%21.1%5.6%0.0%
96Brandon Drury920.2200.4630.32187170.23236.1%19.7%9.8%0.0%
97Yoan Moncada920.1650.2660.24687.79.30.22635.8%13.2%5.7%0.0%
98Myles Straw830.1850.2470.18287.57.80.21435.2%4.2%0.0%0.0%
99Leody Taveras880.2440.3050.25986.79.40.34535.1%22.8%7.0%0.0%
100C.J. Cron980.1870.3300.24188.714.40.23434.8%21.2%12.1%4.5%
101Jeimer Candelario840.2280.4300.30188.310.20.25934.5%17.2%5.2%0.0%
102Nick Pratto800.1820.3640.29185.121.50.25634.1%26.8%4.9%0.0%
103Jorge Polanco840.1940.2920.27187.827.20.23633.9%16.1%3.6%0.0%
104Ketel Marte890.2120.3880.28189.515.50.25033.9%22.6%9.7%1.6%
105Brandon Nimmo970.2410.3330.29385.411.50.27033.3%21.3%5.3%1.3%
106Jonathan Schoop810.1600.2930.21185.512.40.19233.3%20.4%13.0%3.7%
107Ramon Laureano900.1900.3450.25786.321.50.25533.3%27.8%13.0%0.0%
108Ty France800.2140.3570.28684.15.80.21432.8%13.8%5.2%0.0%
109Whit Merrifield760.2470.3560.27484.511.60.29832.8%8.6%0.0%0.0%
110Nick Castellanos890.2890.3980.32285.413.90.33832.8%17.9%4.5%0.0%
111Nico Hoerner830.2840.4320.34786.612.30.30632.8%16.4%3.3%0.0%
112Hunter Dozier820.1620.2430.21586.87.50.21232.7%17.3%9.6%0.0%
113Jake McCarthy780.2860.3430.31586.14.30.33932.2%15.3%1.7%0.0%
114Willy Adames950.2300.3680.26985.919.10.27031.8%12.1%1.5%0.0%
115Wilmer Flores870.2760.4610.36087.121.30.30031.7%15.9%3.2%0.0%
116Joey Wendle920.2440.3000.245872.40.28931.6%17.1%2.6%0.0%
117Starling Marte850.2780.4430.33487.170.35231.6%24.6%14.0%0.0%
118Carlos Correa820.2430.4000.31685.714.20.25531.0%22.4%8.6%1.7%
119Alex Verdugo890.3290.4880.3758912.70.38830.9%11.8%7.4%0.0%
120Luis Arraez760.3150.4250.33289.514.90.32830.9%4.4%0.0%0.0%
121Nick Senzel760.2030.2750.24484.590.25930.8%19.2%1.9%0.0%
122Kyle Farmer800.2710.3140.30287.2140.33930.8%13.5%1.9%0.0%
123Jose Ramirez1010.2610.4240.30185.918.20.25630.6%18.8%8.2%0.0%
124Dylan Carlson870.1670.3460.2568711.30.16930.6%14.5%6.5%0.0%
125Michael Taylor800.3030.3550.3068614.60.39330.4%19.6%5.4%0.0%
126Andrew Benintendi890.2500.3160.30185.115.80.31129.5%9.8%0.0%0.0%
127Jonathan India780.2710.4710.35387.2180.33329.4%13.7%0.0%0.0%
128Andres Gimenez910.3420.4940.40281.817.90.39729.2%12.3%3.1%0.0%
129Luis Gonzalez800.2030.2900.26382.414.30.23628.6%14.3%1.8%0.0%
130Jarren Duran780.1830.3520.26684.83.60.24427.7%12.8%4.3%2.1%
131Adam Frazier930.2630.3000.29984.812.30.31327.5%5.8%1.4%0.0%
132Alek Thomas800.2330.3150.27586.91.10.26227.4%17.7%9.7%0.0%
133J.P. Crawford910.2350.2720.25983.75.70.24727.3%14.3%5.2%0.0%
134Aaron Hicks830.1670.1670.21985.916.90.21827.3%12.7%1.8%0.0%
135Marcus Semien1120.2220.3940.29185.525.60.22026.7%15.1%2.3%0.0%
136Ryan Mountcastle880.1690.2470.22687.817.10.20326.7%15.0%11.7%0.0%
137Ezequiel Duran840.2560.3590.29482.717.80.33926.3%19.3%1.8%0.0%
138Jose Altuve1050.2980.4570.35783.214.70.31726.2%15.5%4.8%0.0%
139Charlie Blackmon920.1900.2740.23085.67.10.20926.1%17.4%1.4%0.0%
140Yuli Gurriel860.2590.3460.27787.910.50.28426.0%16.4%2.7%0.0%
141Marcell Ozuna780.1840.3290.21987.420.70.22425.0%23.1%15.4%3.8%
142Jeff McNeil810.3330.5600.39288.615.70.33825.0%7.4%0.0%0.0%
143Miguel Rojas840.2160.2570.25083.7160.24624.2%9.1%3.0%0.0%
144Isiah Kiner-Falefa790.2600.3150.27485.85.70.29524.2%4.8%0.0%0.0%
145Jake Cronenworth930.2160.3240.31084.820.40.23723.3%6.7%3.3%0.0%
146Kevin Newman870.2560.3540.28582.58.60.32822.2%12.7%1.6%0.0%
147Jose Iglesias890.3580.4440.36281.63.50.41421.4%5.7%1.4%0.0%
148Cesar Hernandez890.2530.3290.29179.7120.31319.7%4.5%1.5%0.0%
149Steven Kwan1070.3400.4740.38082.8100.36915.1%2.3%0.0%0.0%

Matt Chapman

Chapman has been crushing the ball a lot longer than since the break, but through Sunday, his slash line was still just .239/.319/.473, which speaks to how unlucky he was to begin the season. He's sporting the seventh-highest launch angle over this span, so he's not just hitting the ball hard he's elevating it, boosting his power. Chapman's flyball average exit velocity since the break is 97.3 mph, the 12th highest. There are some intriguing names ahead of him:

PlayerExitVel
J.T. Realmuto100.8
Oneil Cruz100.5
Paul Goldschmidt100.3
Trent Grisham99.6
Salvador Perez99.2
Aaron Judge99
Willson Contreras98.4
Byron Buxton98.4
Chas McCormick98.2
Yordan Alvarez98.1
Hunter Renfroe97.4
Matt Chapman97.3

A few of them will be discussed momentarily. Suffice it to say Chapman has exhibited the ability to sustain a high level longer than most of the names, which bodes well for the rest of the season.

However, it should be noted Chapman's strikeout rate has picked up over the second half, spiking to 36.3 percent for the last few weeks after he posted a palatable 25.6 percent clip over the first half.

Even so, not only is Chapman someone to consider for the stretch run, he's a prime target in keeper leagues, even if you need to wait until the offseason to make your pitch. His final numbers will still fall short of his skill level.

Tommy Pham

Regular readers know I'm a component BABIP wonk. Pham is a great example. Look at his launch angle. He's hitting the ball exceptionally hard, but he's not elevating it as much over the second half. To wit, Pham's average launch angle was 9.0 degrees through the break, but only 5.4 degrees since. Perhaps the inviting Green Monster will give Pham the impetus to put a few more batted balls in the air. Hitting leadoff in a potentially potent lineup doesn't hurt either. Pham hasn't pilfered a base since July 3 (he's been caught twice in that span), but it wouldn't be surprising if he snagged a handful, especially if he's successful on his first try as Boston runs when the percentages are in their favor.

Max Muncy

Muncy is a lot like Chapman, but on a smaller scale. He's elevating the ball with authority, but his strikeout rate has also increased as he's posted a 29 percent mark since the break compared to 24.2 percent over the first half. The primary difference is while Chapman was hitting the ball hard for much of the season without commensurate results, Muncy's prebreak average exit velocity was just 88 mph, leading to a low .188 BABIP (which was also unlucky).

The takeaway is Muncy has found his stroke since the break, and even if he falls back some, his current level is more akin to his track record than how he opened the campaign. Muncy's average should remain a drain, but he should be good for some pop as he's already clubbed five long balls in August.

Trent Grisham

Grisham is among the league leaders in hard-hit rate, but his .244 BABIP is just 116th highest among those qualifying for the study. He's hit nine grounders over 95 mph, four of which eclipsed the century mark with one topping 105 mph. However, he's 0-for-9 on his hard-hit groundballs becoming hits since the break. Using the BABIPs shown on the above Groundball chart, Grisham should have garnered four hits on these nine grounders. On the other hand, he's tattooed five hard hit outfield line drives, two over 100 mph with two more surpassing 105 mph, and all have landed safely. That said, based on outfield line drive BABIP, at least three, likely four should have been hits so overall he's still been unlucky on hard-hit balls.

Grisham has fanned at a 22.8 percent clip since the break, a couple of ticks below his usual mark. His playing time might have been in jeopardy once Fernando Tatis returned, but that's no longer a concern. Grisham isn't going to win a league, but he's a sneaky "throw-in" to a larger deal with some plausible upside if he achieves results commensurate with how well he is hitting the ball.

Jose Miranda

Miranda is a nice example of a player both lucky and good. His .407 BABIP since the break is driven by hitting the ball with authority and receiving the requisite results, along with good fortune on batted balls hit with lower exit velocities. On paper, his hit rate should regress (and it likely will), but the landing point could still be high if Miranda continues anything close to his current hard-hit rate.

Michael Harris

A couple weeks ago, when reviewing first-half earners, it was pointed out if Harris' numbers were prorated, he'd be a top-20 overall player, let alone outfielder. The caveat was he likely wouldn't have maintained such a high level of play if he broke camp with the club. As it turns out, he indeed has not sustained that level… HE'S PERFORMED EVEN BETTER!

Harris is tied for 10th in percentage of balls hit over 110 mph.

1

Aaron Judge

20.80%

2

Vladimir Guerrero

12.90%

3

Kyle Schwarber

12.50%

4

Austin Riley

11.90%

5

Oneil Cruz

9.30%

6

Yordan Alvarez

9.10%

7

Pete Alonso

6.10%

8

Rowdy Tellez

6.10%

9

Eloy Jimenez

6.00%

10t

Jose Abreu

5.90%

10t

Michael Harris

5.90%

Wow, that's an impressive neighborhood. Cruz also deserves a special nod. Acquiring Harris via trade this season is likely impossible from a practical sense. As reticent as I am about trusting young players, I'm likely going to be in on Harris next year. You don't hit the ball this hard by accident and he is in select company, even if he falls off down the stretch.

I was planning on discussing Steven Kwan, Jose Iglesias and Andres Gimenez, but they're all more about a high level of play without stellar exit velocity. Let's keep this discussion to those crushing the ball since the break, and I'll find a way to weave that trio into an upcoming Todd's Takes. Deal?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
Collette Calls: Scoring Tweaks
Collette Calls: Scoring Tweaks
FanDuel MLB: Friday Targets
FanDuel MLB: Friday Targets
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Friday Picks
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Friday Picks
Sorare MLB: Welcome Home, Ketel
Sorare MLB: Welcome Home, Ketel