JAYWALKER’S POWER STATION for 5/31/17

The Power Report is back for this split slate Wednesday, with four interesting games early and nine games on the main slate.

First a recap of the metrics we are looking at here:

Expected Power, which is a Baseball HQ/Baseball Info Solutions metric that looks at hard hit percentages, line drive and fly ball rates, and shows what that batters’ rating is on a 100 is average scale.

Actual Power, which is the metric that displays the production that players have actually produced.

GAP: The difference between the two. Positive gaps mean they have underproduced to their metrics, whereas negative indicates regression could soon be coming. It is to show how “real” their production has been and if they are poised for progression or regression.

The purpose of the exercise is to see who is legit, who has been lucky or relatively so, and who has been unlucky and perhaps due for bounce back. Or maybe it is a hitter that has been in a slump, but is showing signs of above average hard contact/power.

The red cells are simply to highlight that they are more volatile due to their low contact rate (Chris/Khris Davis, for examples).

I like to look at last 30 days’ samples to account for adjustments and latest trends. I added a table in the chart for top expected power hitters over the last 30 days with contact rates over 75% for that span, in case you wanted to see a list free from complete windmills like Joey Gallo, Chris/Khris Davis, Alex Avila and the like.

These help us identify who might be relatively off the radar and can be exploited for our success in tournaments tonight!

 

EARLY SLATE NUGGETS:

PIT SP Chad Kuhl has a soft spot for LHH, and it is not the kind that he can write off come tax season. Kuhl has a .405 wOBA, has given up four HRs in 69 batters faced, a 6.12 xFIP and 35% hard contact this season in split. Arizona has the following LHH in the lineup today:

Gregor Blanco, OF (133 EP, +87 GAP, 76% Contact), batting first

David Peralta, OF (64 EP, +1 GAP), 89% Contact), batting second

Jake Lamb, 3B (140 EP, -44 GAP, 73% Contact), batting fourth

Daniel Descalso, 2B/OF (199 EP, +35 GAP, 74% Contact), batting seventh

With Toronto likely to be the most popular bats on the slate, these Diamondbacks might be sneaky, as four game slates go.

Speaking of Toronto, SP Mike Bolsinger starts for the Jays and has struggled out to a 5.76 SIERA start, upside down on his K/BB gaps and putting the ball in play more than anybody on this slate. Joey Votto, 1B, CIN (152 EP, +24 GAP, 84% Contact, 22% BB rate) is a tremendous cash game play, as well as solid GPP and Scott Schebler, OF (143 EP, +8 GAP, 83% Contact) is fantastic for tourneys as well.

Toronto has been the third best team against RHP at home over the last 30 days, so the middle of the lineup is solid here against RHP: Jose Bautista, OF (167 EP, +36 GAP), Kendrys Morales, 1B (143 EP, -17 GAP, 86% Contact), Justin Smoak, 1B (144 EP, -1 GAP, 83% Contact).

PHL SP Aaron Nola is a solid RHP but does have traditional troubles with LHH, giving up a 4.72 xFIP this season with double digit BB rate (11.1%) and 1.2 HR/9 IP. Justin Bour, 1B (187 EP, -15 GAP, 76% Contact) has been crushing everything but has historically powered up more at home. And, of course, I can’t go away from Miami without mentioning J.T. Riddle, SS (169 EP, +36 GAP, 80% Contact), though batting eighth is a buzzkill to any production. If he’s leading off, however, power up.

MIN SP Hector Santiago has always had problem with the longball, no matter LHH or RHH, but George Springer, OF (136 EP, +36 GAP) is a solid power one off and the highest expected power on the team going into today.

MAIN SLATE GEMS:

We will start deep in the heart of Texas, where rookie SP Austin Bibens-Dirkx gets the ball against a Rays team that is both first in wRC+ (149) over the last 30 days and K% (27%) over the last 30 days against RHP. Bibens-Dirkx has a tiny sample size, but has given up two homers already to LHH. Tampa’s best hitters in expected power from the left side over the last 30 days are Logan Morrison, 1B (217 EP, -9 GAP) and Colby Rasmus, OF (178 EP, -33 GAP).

Seattle has been my new crush lately, and a trip to Coors let them realize some of their pent-up production. Going against pitch-to-soft-contact specialist Antonio Sentazela and being back at home is a nice spot for them tonight. You will find the Big Three at the top of the charts, though Nelson Cruz, OF (151 EP, +45 GAP, 83% Contact) had to leave his last game with a calf injury, though CBS reported later that he is likely to be available tonight as DH.

As good as Cruz has been, Robinson Cano, 2B (170 EP, +19 GAP, 89% Contact) has been on another level. 89% contact rate is elite to go with the power. Remember when he was finished? Not anymore. Kyle Seager, 3B (162 EP, +76 GAP, 82% Contact) is always a menace at home against RHP. Finishing off the stack is Ben Gamel, OF (136 EP, +36 GAP), who usually bats second in front of Cano, Cruz, Seager.

Hold your nose, because I am about to talk about the Detroit Tigers. They dominate the top of the power lists and get Ian Kennedy, a fly ball pitcher prone to hard contact. The problem is that they are on the road, in Kauffman Stadium, which has been terrible for home runs this season. Still, if you want to take a tourney flyer on a power-packed stack, going against Kennedy may be the way to go. Here are the top Tigers and bear in mind that Kennedy has given up more homers to RHH at home than LHH.

Alex Avila, C (271 EP, +94 GAP, 59% Contact)

J.D. Martinez, OF (219 EP, +18 GAP, 69% Contact)

Justin Upton, OF (171 EP, +42 GAP, 63% Contact)

Miguel Cabrera, 1B (166 EP, +89 GAP, 74% Contact)

Victor Martinez, C/1B (139 EP, +46 GAP, 86% Contact)

Nick Castellanos, 3B (135 EP, +77 GAP, 72% Contact)

Finally, we talk about the Yankees, who are in Baltimore against Kevin Gausman, and the visitors are #3 against RHP on the road over the last 30 days, with a 129 wRC+. Gausman is famous for reverse splits, but the numbers say he has been bad against both this season.

Aaron Judge, OF (154 EP, -35 GAP, 64% Contact) has overproduced to his metrics and has been getting a little luck regression lately, with a +100 GAP over the last seven days. Brett Gardner, OF (134 EP, -48 GAP, 80% Contact) has had some of the same, but his recent power spike has been supported by his metrics. Lastly, Aaron Hicks, OF (133 EP, +22 GAP, 77% Contact) has done solid work in the power category this season.

Here is the full table of top expected power hitters, top expected power hitters with high contact rates, and another table for leaders in GAP, a.k.a. Most Owed Power. Feel free to ask about anybody specifically and enjoy!

There is a lot to find in there, so fire away with any questions – find me in the Premium Slack Chat (@jaywalker72). I hope you find all the power today – good luck! – JW

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