Sunday, July 8, 2018

Effective Chase Score

Swinging at pitches outside the zone is generally bad. After all, players are essentially giving up free balls in exchange for either a strike or a poorly hit ball. But hey, if you can put the ball in play, it's not the worst thing in the world. With this in mind, yesterday, I looked at which hitters were best at avoiding chasing those pitches, while making contact on said pitches.
I decided to refine this methodology further, and talk about players ability to effectively chase in that they A. don't chase frequently, B. make contact on pitches that they chase, and C. make quality contact on pitches that they chase.

The three components I incorporated were 1-O-swing% (how frequently players did not swing at outside pitches), O-Contact% (how frequently players make contact on their swings outside the zone) and xwOBA on O-zone pitches (the quality of contact on pitches made outside of the zone). After pulling all of these figures for players with 1000+ pitches this season from Baseball Savant, I then calculated the z-scores for players with regards to each metrics, then added them all together. The end result I called the "Effective Chase Score".

Here are 2018's leaders in Effective Chase Score.

PlayerEffective Chase Score
Joey Votto6.85
Mookie Betts5.43
Brett Gardner4.45
Alex Bregman4.42
Nick Markakis4.23
Jesse Winker4.20
Ben Zobrist3.61
Andrew Benintendi3.56
Aaron Hicks3.43
Jose Ramirez3.40
Andrelton Simmons3.36
Travis Shaw3.22
Carlos Santana3.15
Mike Trout3.01
Shin-Soo Choo2.96
Lorenzo Cain2.87
Matt Chapman2.82
Buster Posey2.81
Ian Kinsler2.80
Denard Span2.70

As we would expect, Votto is miles away the best player in terms in effective chase rate - in addition to having extremely low chase rates, Votto makes contact frequently on his outside swings and has extremely effective contact on outside pitches.

Here are the worst batters by the same metric.

playerEffective Chase Score
Freddy Galvis-2.54
Michael A. Taylor-2.65
Kevin Pillar-2.76
Joey Gallo-2.83
Chris Davis-2.84
Carlos Gomez-2.84
Odubel Herrera-2.85
Eduardo Escobar-3.06
Robinson Chirinos-3.11
Teoscar Hernandez-3.61
Adam Jones-3.62
Tim Anderson-3.62
Giancarlo Stanton-3.63
Luis Valbuena-3.67
JaCoby Jones-4.07
Nicholas Castellanos-4.13
Jonathan Schoop-4.16
Lewis Brinson-4.76
Ryon Healy-4.82
Javier Baez-5.65

There are a lot of free swingers here, including Gomez, Davis, Gallo, etc. Baez, however, is almost as bad as Votto is good - Baez has the worst O-Swing% by 6% (Baez - 46.0%, second is Kevin Pillar, 40.5%), bottom tier O-Contact%, and Baez has just a .237 xwOBA on outside pitches.

To view the full list of hitters with at least 1000+ pitches faced, I published my spreadsheet below.