As the Rays close on what should be their second playoff appearance in two years I wanted to look at how our batters have performed through a couple of different lenses that shouldn’t take a huge leap of faith to understand. What you’ll see is a look at five of the components for batters that I have deemed most important. The sample is all players with at least 150 plate appearances from both leagues and the statistics looked at are Batting Average, Home Runs per At Bat, Extra Base Hits per At Bat, Base on Balls per Plate Appearance, and Strikeouts per Plate Appearance. If you want to take a look at the workbook you will find all the components for these and a lot more HERE. I went back and forth on whether to do the dingers and extra base hits on a per plate appearance basis, but I think that more is gained about what type of hitter a guy is by stripping out the walks. Let’s first take a look at the table of Rays batters (click on all images to pop up an enlarge view in another tab):
With this in front of you I want to explain a couple of things. Red highlights show players that are below league average of the 371 players looked at here. Green shows above average players using the same sample as an average. I then turned these numbers into an index based on 100 (much like OPS+ or wOBA+) so that you can see in percentage form how far a player is from average either up or down. For instance, we can see that Matt Joyce is about 12% worse than the average player by Batting Average, but he’s roughly 52% better than the average player in turning his At Bats into Extra Base Hits. I then averaged out these index numbers to come up with the last column, Avg. All 371 players were ranked by this average column and you can find these rankings under the Rank header. As you can see, Matt Joyce is about 34% better than an average player across all five of these categories, which slightly surprisingly, puts him 20th in all of Major League Baseball. You can go down the rest of the list and check out the other guys. Keep in mind that K/PA is set up the same way, such that, 100+ is still better than average. I’ve also made a couple of radar charts that I think you will find pretty intuitive and I think they came out great. I have divided the players into two groups based on their primary fielding positions, up-the-middle and corners.
Let’s start with the Corner Outfield and Infield:
Simply find the color of your favorite player and you can see how they compare to each other across each category. You can see that Pena obliterates everyone in HR/AB, but Joyce leads the way in BB/PA and XBH/PA. Longoria is pretty well rounded here with no real weaknesses and Aybar is kind of the same way, but not at the same magnitude as Longoria. In case you were wondering the 100, or average, axis level is the second pentagon from the origin. Let’s see how the middles ended up looking:
You’ll notice that I kept the axis the same for easy comparison here, but holy cow does John Jaso deliver a ton of value when it comes to his plate discipline and average. One thing that seems to stand out a little more to me with these guys is the more defined skill sets. You don’t see guys that excel at everything the way Longoria does, and this makes sense since these positions are generally thought of as more demanding defensively. Take from this what you will, but I think it’s a nice look at our bats and I hope to do more with this in the future, including looking at our rivals, and most importantly, taking a look at pitchers in the same way. I’ll leave this down at the bottom since it’s going to take up a ton of space, but here’s the Top-100 and remember that you can find all of this in the Google.doc: