Hitters we're buying and selling according to well-hit data

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9584/" data-ylk="slk:Corey Seager">Corey Seager</a>’s pedestrian numbers seem to be tied to bad luck when considering well-hit data. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Corey Seager’s pedestrian numbers seem to be tied to bad luck when considering well-hit data. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The average well-hit according to MLB-stat provider Inside Edge is .136 of at bats. In other words, strikeouts count as not hitting the ball well since, of course, when you strike out, you did not hit the ball at all. Some sites insist on devising a well-hit rate of balls in play so you could strikeout out 18 of 20 times and hit a line drive one of the other two and have a hard-hit/well-hit rate of .500. That’s ludicrous.

It seems like there were some questions about A.J. Pollock as a real-life hitter. I thought he was rock solid and he’s .230 this year in well-hit, above Javier Baez (.222). Miguel Cabrera is rebounding (.214). And well-hit says to buy Corey Seager, who I’m shocked to see is a very healthy .190; so he’s hitting in bad luck (.241 actual average with just one homer).

I’ve already taken the loss on Jose Martinez for betting against him due to late-bloomers regressing on average about 30% in Year 2 (OPS+). His hitting is rock solid no matter how I view it and well-hit (.237) is no different. I’m always happy to be wrong when the net result is another good hitter in real baseball. The touts that really hurt is when I expect someone to be good and he isn’t.

The league leader is breaking my heart as a Mets fan, because New York refuses to play him. Brandon Nimmo has just 21 at bats and has hit the ball well eight times for a .381 average. I mean, they even sent him down during this stretch of great hitting. Those eight well hit balls are the same number as Trea Turner has in 86 at bats. Note that Nimmo has 30 plate appearances and has six walks and three hit by pitches. So 17 out of 30 times he’s had a plate appearance, he’s either hit the ball hard or gotten on base. This is not enough to beat out Adrian Gonzalez (.130 well-hit) for at bats. Even when the Mets are winning, they annoy their fans with mindless decisions. If playing time opens up for Nimmo, he’s a top 30 outfielder who should hit .285/.385/.470 with about 18 homers and 15 steals per 500 ABs.

But, yes, it’s only 21 at bats for Nimmo so small-sample caveats apply but this is certainly worthy of regular at bats unless the Mets have a stated policy against earning more playing time.

Other players crushing the ball in limited at bats include Franchy Cordero  at .219 and, yes, this was well-hit. Cordero is one of the most exciting players in fantasy baseball with his light-tower power (that homer outdoes Roy Hobbs) and top-shelf base-stealing speed.

JaCoby Jones (3% owned) is .220 is  sort of the poor man’s Cordero in being super toolsy but the problem with Jones has been “all tools, no toolbox.” Maybe he’s figuring it out. Mark Canha is .242. Teoscar Hernandez (44%) is .257 in 35 at bats and Jesus Aguilar (1%) exactly the same, though you can’t grab him since the Brewers like to collect players at the same position for no apparent reason. It’s not like Eric Thames (.233) is losing playing time. I feel I have to note that Daniel Descalso (1%) is .265 though I have no idea how he can get more regular at bats and Descalso is hard-luck in somehow hitting just .185 despite that well-hit.

Of the players with more than 50 at bats, Christian Villanueva is .242, tied with DiDi Gregorius. Carlos Santana is .205 and his poor start (.151 actual average) makes zero sense. Also look at the Ks (14) and BBs (16). For context, Santana’s well-hit is higher than Rhys Hoskins (very good at .200).

I’m tired of talking up Jed Lowrie (please ignore the thus-far horrible bold predictions), who is finally appropriately owned (83%); Lowrie is at .245 well-hit, which is between Bryce Harper and Gregorius. Meet Daniel Murphy 2.0.

Trey Mancini (66%) is .198. Ozzie Albies is surprisingly lower than expected (but still good) at .174.

Evan Longoria like Santana was disappointing his owners before smacking two homers this week but he has exactly the same well-hit over the same number of at bats as Aaron Judge (.189).

Some bad well-hit with over 50 ABs include Jonathan Villar (.030), Edwin Encarnacion (.043), Zack Cozart (who I loved as a pocket pick this year, .060), fantasy-darling-for-some-reason-in-perpetuity Byron Buxton (.073), Tim Anderson (.075), Domingo Santana (.082, he’s very lucky his competition for playing time keeps getting hurt), Yoenis Cespedes (.085), Jay Bruce (.090), Trea Turner (.093) and Chris Davis (.098).

Joey Votto (.108) is the reminder that it’s still very early. I feel the same way about Michael Conforto (.064 in 47 at bats).

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