Yesterday, I took a look at number of plate appearances, weighted On Base Average, and the percentage for each batter’s hit location and hit trajectory. This allowed us to compare players against their teammates to get an idea of who was better at what and where. Well thanks to site user “raysprof” for reminding me that we can also look at this in a couple of other ways. Oh also the Rays officially signed Luke Scott so he will be included, and as you’ll see, that’s a good thing.
First off, let’s bring back yesterday’s number of plate appearances table as it’s always good to keep in mind the size of the samples that we’re talking about here:
No real need to linger here so allow me to introduce the next table:
The idea here is that we compare the player’s wOBA, as shown yesterday, to the 2012 American League average for that split and then multiply by 100. Exactly 100 is league average while each point above means the player is that percentage better than average and vice-versa for below 100. This allows us to see that Evan Longoria is really freaking good. Well no duh, but over his career Luke Scott has also been a monster. And so has Ben Zobrist, though his obscene walk rate helps him out with some non-liner ball in play troubles. Matt Joyce is no slouch either, but guys like Jennings and Escobar have been closer to average, thus far, than well above it. This should give you a good idea of where guy’s strengths and weakness lie and after yesterday’s crash course I’m going to work under the assumption that you know how to read these now.
We can also go one step further. Click this LINK if you are unfamiliar with the concept of weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA). Like the last table, we’re comparing each player to league average, but instead of looking at this as an indexed percentage we can apply how good or bad the player compares to average while also bringing in the number of plate appearances in that scenario to show how many runs above or below average a player has been:
Readily apparent is that Jose Molina has been a black hole of suck throughout his career. This is a good example of a bad hitter being given a ton of plate appearances. Of course, that’s not why he’s in the bigs (queue Cody Ross/Brett Lawrie/Everybody helmet toss.gif). On the other hand, it’s plain to see just how good the middle of the order in Longoria, Zobrist, Scott, and Joyce have been. Additionally, we again see that Escobar has some things to like, but he also has some big flaws that will likely raise neck hair on some fans from time to time.
Comparing to league average can go a long way in showing how well a player has performed compared to the norm. A league average hitter is generally a good thing, provided they aren’t a stiff in the field, but those that are well above average are the guys that can really carry a team.
Further research for this author or any other would be to find level of regression for the trajectories so that batters can easily be regressed to league average. This will give an idea of whether a batter might profile better against a ground ball or fly ball pitcher (pitchers can be regressed as well) so that more efficient platooning can occur.