In my last piece on Wil Myers I mentioned the statistic I’ve created called GAGR. The idea is that we want to get an idea of batters that don’t swing at balls, but do swing at and make contact with pitches within the zone. It’s a fine way to look at batters, but it misses the crucial component of power. Often, batters that have high contact rates don’t bring much thump and then there’s other batters that swing and miss a lot, but can hit it out of the yard when they do make contact. Rarest of all is the batter that can do both. We can look at these things:
There’s a lot going on here so strap in. We see our GAGR scores along the x-axis ranging from Javier Baez at 53.7% (that’s bad) to Joey Votto at 70.1% (that’s good!). Similarly, we see each player’s ISO, or Isolated Power, on the y-axis with John Baker on the low end at 0.032 (again, bad) and Chris Davis on the high end with 0.287 (pretty good!). You’ll notice that we have four different names here. Some guys are good at one thing or the other. Some are good at both and some are good at nothing. To group these guys we can introduce the bands.
These curves, or bands, use the weighted average mean for each statistic and the standard deviation to come up with ranges or tiers or whatever word you prefer. The mean ISO was 0.150 while the mean GAGR was 63.9%. You’ll notice that band running in the middle and we can add deviations counting both up and down. I’ve added some names to give an idea of the types of batter where I could wedge it in and you can use the sheet below to look up your favorite players. Additionally, I have color-coded the Rays that played both season for Tampa Bay as follows:
Brown: Evan Longoria, Red: Kevin Kiermaier, Orange: Matt Joyce, Yellow: Desmond Jennings, Green: Wil Myers, Navy Blue: Ben Zobrist, Purple: James Loney, Turquoise: Brandon Guyer, and Black: Yunel Escobar
Guyer is the lone guy that falls shy of +1, though he’s very close. Myers, Jennings, Loney, and Zobrist fall between +1 and +2, though Zobrist is just on the cusp of +2. Longoria, Joyce, Kiermaier, and Escobar sit in the +2 to +3 band. Many of these guys ride the rail up the middle, but you’ll notice players that offset poor ability in one area being offset by exceedingly strong ability in the other.
The total package is what we’re interested in and it’s what makes someone like Yunel Escobar a pretty good hitter even without much power, or his natural foil Chris Davis being incredibly powerful, but with a bad approach. The guys that can’t do either are a laundry list of glove-first players and Jeff Francoeur. Outside the +3 curve are the guys that are absolute beasts at the plate. There are many of the names that you would expect to see, but also some that may surprise you a bit.
As baseball fans we love to rank guys to see who’s better. Plenty of arguments base around whether you’d rather have the guy that all power and whiff or the guy that slaps the ball all over or even the guy that’s kind of good at both, but great at neither. We can use z-scores to rank each player in each category and then add them up. You’ll find all of that below. Please let me know if the spreadsheet isn’t working, by the way, I’m still getting acclimated to using this stuff.
I hope you find this useful, and as always, let me know if you want a copy of the workbook or anything.