The Padres’ 2019 Statcast Hitting Leaders

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Padres

The Padres are in the midst of a season in which they’re finally winning and looking like potential contenders in the NL West. Along with the excitement about the team, it’s interesting to look into their Statcast numbers as well. Here’s a look at the players who have lead the team in various metrics.

First, to be examined are the Statcast numbers surrounding the Padres’ hitting. To begin, we’re going to analyze the Padres hitters who have the highest amount of Barrels per plate appearance. This statistic is essentially telling us how often a player barrels up pitches, the higher the number, the better. These are the Padres’ leaders:

Player Barrels / PA %
Franmil Reyes 11.9%
Fernando Tatis Jr. 9.0%
Hunter Renfroe 7.1%
Austin Hedges 7.0%
Wil Myers 6.9%

It isn’t a surprise to see that Franmil Reyes is at the top of the Padres’ list of hitters who crush the baseball.

The same can largely be said of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Hunter Renfroe. In case you’re wondering, Manny Machado has a 6.1% Barrels per plate appearance percentage. What is surprising is that Austin Hedges made this list, which speaks to the fact that he’s been hitting the ball better than his average suggests. Furthermore, Wil Myers’ appearance at fifth here is also a positive sign that he can still hit the ball with authority.

The next metric being examined is the average exit velocity of hitters, as measured by Statcast. Here are the five best Padres hitters by this measurement:

Average Exit Velocity
Franmil Reyes 92.3 mph
Manny Machado 91.7 mph
Hunter Renfroe 90.6 mph
Eric Hosmer 90.3 mph
Wil Myers 89.2 mph

Once again here we see Franmil at the top of the leaderboard and see Manny Machado just behind him. This chart seems to reflect the actual abilities of the Padres’ hitters in the sense that most of the best position players on the roster are included in it. Additionally, it’s good to see Eric Hosmer make an appearance here, as he continues to bounce back from a down year in 2018. This also is another good development for Wil Myers as he works on breaking out of his slump and fixing his recent strikeout issues.

Up next is the leaderboard of Padres hitters and the number of balls they’ve hit over 95 mph. Here it is:

Number of Balls Hit 95+ mph
Eric Hosmer 70
Manny Machado 67
Franmil Reyes 53
Hunter Renfroe 40
Wil Myers 37

This is another case of the usual suspects, in which every single player from the previous leaderboard is present in the table above. It says a lot about the quality of the hitters above, as well as each of their tendencies to hit pretty well for power. It is certainly very interesting that the team’s two most expensive players have crushed the ball noticeably more than any other players on the team. This also shows that Machado is having a slightly down year because all of last year he hit 256 balls over 95 mph. He’s currently on pace to hit 204 balls at 95+ mph. On a more positive note, Eric Hosmer is set to have 213 of those same batted balls struck at over 95 mph if he continues at this pace. Last season, he hit 177 balls at such exit velocities.

The final measurement of the Padres’ hitters will be their average launch angles:

Average Launch Angle
Ian Kinsler 18.9 degrees
Austin Hedges 18.1 degrees
Hunter Renfroe 17.5 degrees
Manuel Margot 16.0 degrees
Manny Machado 13.7 degrees

So this leaderboard is where things have changed more than in any other leaderboards shown previously in the article. Considering how poorly he’s hit this season, Ian Kinsler’s average launch angle is not working very well. He’s a hitter that’s trying to hit home runs, yet has only managed six thus far in 2019. The same can largely be said of Austin Hedges, though his defense largely makes up for his shortcomings with the bat. Renfroe hits for enough power to justify his high launch angles. It’s rather puzzling to see Manuel Margot on this list, especially when considering how fast he is. As for Manny Machado, we can certainly live with his higher launch angles considering his impressive track record of hitting in previous seasons. Regardless of how you feel about the whole idea of launch angle, you can rest easy knowing that the Padres no longer have Ryan Schimpf hitting balls at an average launch angle of 30 degrees!

Collectively, this is a set of data that tells us some very important information about the Padres’ hitters and who has objectively hit the ball with authority. It also allows us to understand better why some players have struggled this season, as we can see in Ian Kinsler and Austin Hedges’ average launch angles. If either hit more line drives, they would likely produce more offensively. At the same time, though, we could also say that a lot of their offensive value is tied to their ability to hit home runs on occasion. The most striking part of this data is that many of the same hitters consistently appeared in multiple data sets. The five hitters shown in the first three tables of the article certainly reflect the best position players in the Padres’ lineup, which is highly useful knowledge for us to have.

All data in this article is courtesy of Baseball Savant.

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