Limitation of Baseball Savant’s Graphic Snapshot by Jeff Zimmerman November 16, 2022 John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports I’m sure everyone has seen this graphic on Baseball Savant but if not, go take a look. This may be the most trusted but misleading graphic used in (fantasy) baseball analysis. It was all over Twitter today with the Teoscar Hernández trade to show off his greatness. He owns one of the game's greatest Statcast pages pic.twitter.com/uCor1YTu3w — Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) November 16, 2022 Teoscar Hernández's 2022 Statcast percentiles ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ChtfeFuSDD — Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) November 16, 2022 My biggest issue with these Patriotic Lollipops (note #1) is the extreme focus on power. The first seven items (yes, even xAVG) all correlate to how hard a batter hits the ball. Those seven make out half the power but a hitter’s value is not wrapped up into just hitting with authority. As in Hernandez’s case, he lights up the top half of the chart, but then some glaring holes show up. The next four sliders point to his horrible plate discipline (6% BB%, 28% K%). At least the plate discipline metrics gets some love. Sprint Speed shows how fast he can run and can be helpful with predicting stolen bases. The final three metrics bring to light the defense. Besides it keeping a guy on the field, these measures are worthless for our fantasy game. Even with the bottom factors, it is simply a power-centric graphic. The key when using, seeing, and even hearing that it’s great, is just to assume the player can hit the ball hard and nothing more. Don’t even assume the guy can hit home runs. As a counter example, here is Yandy Díaz’s graphic. Diaz hit just 9 HR last season in 558 PA because he drives the ball right into the ground. The Barrel% indicator gave might have given away his career 53% GB% but some additional red from a decent eye might have hidden the flaw. Don’t trust your first impression from your eyes with these. Pull out the useful information to a table. The deal is that the metrics in the graphic are not to be predictive. Tango then stressed that the expected metrics were only ever intended to be descriptive, that they were not designed to be predictive, and that if they had been intended to be predictive, they could have been designed differently or other metrics could be used. For me, I’m down to just using Hard Hit% to measure a hitter’s raw power. When paired with launch angle, they are a reliable predictor of home runs. Instead of going to each player’s page, I’ve decided to average their factors (those with 14 or more) to get an idea of who gets labeled as a Savant darling. Here are the top, middle, and bottom 20 guys (Note #2). Top, Middle, & Bottom of the Average Savant Scores Name Average Grade Yordan Alvarez 88.2 Juan Soto 86.4 Freddie Freeman 86.3 Aaron Judge 83.9 Shohei Ohtani 83.0 Mike Trout 80.8 Bryce Harper 80.3 Ronald Acuña Jr. 79.5 José Abreu 78.6 Austin Riley 78.4 Taylor Ward 77.8 Corey Seager 77.2 Joc Pederson 77.0 Carlos Correa 76.5 Vladimir Guerrero 76.2 Will Smith 75.3 Paul Goldschmidt 75.2 Rafael Devers 75.1 Kyle Tucker 74.5 Yandy Díaz 74.2 Tommy Pham 52.5 Ramón Urías 52.4 Oneil Cruz 52.3 Chas McCormick 51.5 Tommy Edman 51.3 C.J. Cron 51.3 Luke Voit 51.3 Nelson Cruz 51.2 Starling Marte 51.0 Oscar Gonzalez 50.6 Marcus Semien 49.7 Andrés Giménez 49.5 Luis Urías 49.2 Riley Greene 49.1 Gavin Lux 49.0 Eduardo Escobar 48.7 Amed Rosario 48.7 Joey Votto 48.5 Eric Hosmer 47.9 Josh Harrison 25.8 Robbie Grossman 25.2 Rougned Odor 25.2 Willi Castro 24.9 Leody Taveras 24.5 Geraldo Perdomo 24.4 Gilberto Celestino 24.2 Miguel Cabrera 23.9 Tony Kemp 23.8 Luis González 23.5 Michael Chavis 22.6 Jorge Mateo 22.5 Chad Pinder 22.2 Jackie Bradley Jr. 21.4 Jonathan Schoop 21.2 Martín Maldonado 19.8 Maikel Franco 19.7 Andrew Velazquez 18.5 Jacob Stallings 18.2 Victor Robles 13.3 Some thoughts on the list. The only names who surprised me were Diaz (20th) and Taylor Ward (10th). Ward had three great months and three absolute disasters surrounding a mid-season injury and has an NFBC ADP of 136 . The middle group is by far the most interesting. Oneil Cruz has only a 50% average with many people considering him a Savant darling. Marcus Semien and Andres Gimenez are ranked back-to-back. It’s loaded with a bunch of veteran first basemen (Eric Hosmer, Joey Votto, Luke Voit, and C.J. Cron). When I initially had Outs-Above Average included, I ran this poll to see who people preferred. Choose here — Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) November 16, 2022 The players were: Oneil Cruz Steven Kwan Bobby Witt Jr. Tommy Pham The crowd picked Witt as the winner but Pham came in as a surprising second place. The bottom twenty were all disasters. This is where the power part of these graphics comes into play. There needs to be a baseline of power for any hitter to be a fantasy asset. These patriotic lollipop portraits aren’t going away, but fantasy managers need to understand what they focus on (power) and what they don’t (almost everything else). I just use Savant’s HardHit% (> 45% is elite, it gets dicey below 30% to 35%) here at FanGraphs and would recommend not using the graphic for any analysis. Note #1: If you have a better name for the graphic than Patriotic Lollipops, please include it in the comments. Note #2: There is a full list of players (Out Above Average removed so everyone has the same number of categories. To get your own copy, to File -> Make a copy and manipulate the sheet. I’ve added a feature to get a player’s closest comps. Select a player from the yellow drop-down menu at the top left. Then promote (upside down green three-line triangle) from A->Z (smallest to largest). The table on the Downloadable Comps tab will then be updated with the closest comps. For example, here are Teoscar Hernandez’s comps. A decent list of hitters.