Data Mining is a regular post each week of the MLB season. It will focus on data behind the picks that combine hundreds of data points to give you the most accurate picture possible of what to expect from each player. Digging deeper than slash lines will give you a leg up on your competition.
BABIP – Miguel Sano (MIN) .440
Miguel Sano has had a solid start to the season for the Minnesota Twins. He’s batting .300 with 8 HR and 28 RBI. He’s in the Top-10 in the league in OBP, SLG. OPS and wOBA, but let’s pump the brakes on him just a little bit. Among batters with 40+ at-bats, Sano is 8th in the league in BABIP at .440. In his defense however his exit velocity is excellent, but he’s still on the lucky side (see chart below). His hard-hit rate is insanely high, which contributes to his BABIP; through 225 career games, his BABIP is .364. BABIP will vary based on how hard a particular player hits the ball but Sano is due for some huge regression here, even to get back to his career average of .364
Exit Velocity v Fastballs – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 97.0 MPH
This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but don’t throw fastballs to Miggy. Through 36 results so far this year he’s leading the league in exit velocity on fastballs at 97.0 MPH. It looks like major league pitchers are trying to heed that advice. 56.4% of Cabrera’s pitches seen have been fastballs. Good for just 114th in the league, but even that number is still above the league average with there currently being 309 hitters in the major league’s with 50+ plate appearances. On the 36 fastballs that he’s put in play he has 14 hits, good for a .389 batting average. Make Miggy beat you on something else. Upgrade Miggy and Tigers stacks when facing predominantly fastball pitchers.
Average Exit Velocity – Justin Bour (MIA) – 94.1 MPH
Here is a name you probably didn’t expect right? Justin Bour is 5th in the league in exit velocity at 94.1 MPH. What’s dragging him season down though is a 25.2% K-Rate and a .264 BABIP. Based on the same “Hard Hit Luck” chart from above, Bour currently has a 39.5% hard-hit rate, giving him an expected BABIP of .312, so he’s been unlucky to the tune of about 50 BABIP points thus far on the year. Expect his paltry .219 batting average and four home runs to improve as the year wears on.
If he’s allowed to get his hands extended, he can really put a hurt on the baseball. Below is a link to his exit velocity by zone. Check out his home runs from last season as well. The theme is the same. If he gets his hands out he can really damage the baseball.