Yesterday, I identified and discussed a smattering of hitters who made surprising appearances near the top of the barrels per true fly ball (Brls/TFB) leaderboard. Today, we flip to the opposite end of the list, moving to the laggards. These are going to be fantasy relevant guys you never expected to appear closer to the bottom of the leaderboard than the top.
Last week, I listed and discussed the barrels per true fly ball (Brls/TFB) surgers and decliners. As a reminder, Brls/TFB is one of the main components of my xHR/FB rate equation. Today, let’s review some of the surprising Brls/TFB leaders. We’ll define surprise as hitters we didn’t predict to appear anywhere near the top tier in the rankings. I’ll only call out fantasy relevant names.
Yesterday, I discussed surgers in the final important component of my xHR/FB rate equation, FB Pull%. Today, I’ll move on to the decliners. What follows is a list of the hitters whose FB Pull% declined by at least 10 percentage points from 2018.
The last major component of my xHR/FB rate equation is fly ball pull percentage (FB Pull%). Since hitters generally can generate more power to their pull side and distance along the lines are always shorter than toward center, a higher pulled fly ball rate is almost always better for HR/FB rate. Pulled fly ball rate is a skill, as I calculated soon after revealing my xHR/FB equation, so a change is worth noting. That said, as usual, regression toward individual averages are always inevitable, so typically the batter enjoying a spike or enduring a decline reverses courses and moves back toward their average the following year. Remember that when reading this list and commentary.
Yesterday, I listed and discussed the hitters who had increased their average fly ball distance (AFBD) by at least 20 feet from 2018 to 2019. Today, I’ll take on the decliners, but expand the group to those that lost at least 15 feet (it’s no surprise given the leaguewide HR/FB rate surge that there are more surgers than decliners). Like I did with the surger list, I’ll only discuss those who did not appear on the barrels per true fly ball decliner list, as there’s overlap. Actually, now that I see the list of overlaps, there’s very little, with the only notable name being Luke Voit on both lists.
On Monday, I discussed the surgers in one of the components of my xHR/FB rate equation, barrels per true fly ball. Today, we’ll hop over to another important component of the equation, average fly ball distance (AFBD, because I’m lazy). While you might expect the two lists to include similar names, 11 of the 31 names did not increase their Brl/TFB rate by at least 10%. So yes, that means the majority do appear on both lists, but probably less a majority you would think. So it’s worth consulting each group separately. This list includes all hitters with at least 30 fly balls in both 2018 and 2019 and increased their AFBD marks by at least 20 feet. I won’t discuss guys already discussed from Monday’s list.
Yesterday, I listed and discussed the hitters who at increased their barrels per true fly ball (Brl/TFB) rates by at least 10% over 2018. Today, I’ll discuss the opposite end of the spectrum, those whose Brl/TFB rates fell at least 10% from 2018.
Two years ago, I introduced my latest xHR/FB rate equation, which incorporates two Statcast metrics. One of these metrics is barrels per true fly ball rate (Brls/TFB), which is defined as such: # of barrels / (# fly balls – # of pop-ups). Barrels is a Statcast metric, while I am using the fly ball and infield fly ball (pop-ups) counts from FanGraphs. Since barrels accounts for both exit velocity and launch angle, it’s a favorite metric of mine. So let’s review all the hitters with at least 25 true fly balls who increased their Brls/TFB rates by at least 10 percentage points.
Don’t feel bad if you didn’t have Wade Miley anywhere near your mixed league radar this season. Excluding his half season 2018 in which he posted a sub-3.00 ERA, his ERA had risen in literally every season since his first full year back in 2012. That ERA ultimately reached a high water mark of 5.61. In Houston, he posted decent results that gave him streamer appeal in shallower leagues and earned positive value in AL-Only leagues. Now having signed with the Reds, he returns to the National League. Will the move to a new park help him remain on mixed league radars? Let’s consult the park factors.
On Monday, Avisaíl García signed a two-year deal with the Brewers, very clearly pushing Ryan Braun to everyday first base duties. Garcia hasn’t often been an exciting fantasy asset, but he is coming off a career best 20 homers and 10 steals, with a helpful batting average. Now he moves to the National League for the first time. Let’s see how the park switch might affect his performance.