BATTERS: BPV leaders, May 2016

Let's continue our monthly look back at the players who posted the best skills during the previous month by moving on to hitters.

Here were the most skilled bats over the month of May (data through May 29):

  • 75+ BPV, May 2015*
    
    Name                League  Position     bb%  ct%  Eye   PX   HctX  xPX  Spd  BPV
    ==================  ======  ===========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===
    Ortiz, David            AL           DH   11   83  0.71  252   186  194   75  180
    Bradley, Jackie         AL           CF   12   83  0.82  192   141  140  105  144
    Kang, Jung-ho           NL        3B/SS    4   79  0.18  245   183  285   75  143
    Machado, Manny          AL        3B/SS   14   79  0.77  200   139  176  113  141
    Pearce, Steve           AL     LF/1B/2B   13   83  0.92  176   155  175   97  131
    Cabrera, Miguel         AL           1B   12   88  1.17  143   148  152   97  123
    Ozuna, Marcell          NL           CF    8   80  0.41  177   139  138  150  123
    Zobrist, Ben            NL        2B/LF   14   89  1.45  124   156  124  116  119
    Beckham, Gordon         NL        3B/2B   12   89  1.33  129   129  123   94  116
    Duvall, Adam            NL           LF    2   74  0.09  229   110  158   95  115
    Cespedes, Yoenis        NL           LF   11   82  0.67  178   118  134   73  115
    Beltran, Carlos         AL        RF/DH    5   80  0.25  202   124  143   70  114
    Castellanos, Nick       AL           3B    6   79  0.33  197   120  184   78  113
    Frazier, Todd           AL           3B   15   80  0.85  171   114  124   83  112
    Kinsler, Ian            AL           2B    8   88  0.69  135   136  140  117  112
    Thompson, Trayce        NL           LF   10   78  0.50  191   124  146   83  111
    Seager, Kyle            AL           3B   10   88  0.92  137   146  148   89  111
    Lucroy, Jonathan        NL            C    9   78  0.45  176   131  189  119  110
    Herrmann, Chris         NL            C    9   72  0.36  193   139  205  140  105
    Bour, Justin            NL           1B   11   81  0.67  173   146  140   57  104
    Posey, Buster           NL         C/1B    9   87  0.75  139   170  153   83  104
    Adams, Matt             NL           1B   10   77  0.47  187   138  166   81  104
    Davis, Khristopher      AL        LF/DH    2   76  0.08  213   138  177   73  102
    Cano, Robinson          AL           2B    4   86  0.31  154   148  131   84  102
    Guyer, Brandon          AL           LF    4   78  0.20  183   111  108  100   99
    Hill, Aaron             NL        2B/3B   13   84  0.93  133   126  122   92   97
    Bautista, Jose          AL        RF/DH   16   85  1.27  127   147  115   70   97
    Carpenter, Matt         NL           3B   14   76  0.65  181   131  205   62   95
    Lamb, Jacob             NL           3B   11   80  0.61  145   135  132  114   94
    Trout, Mike             AL           CF   13   80  0.71  155   144  152   80   94
    Ramirez, Jose           AL  SS/2B/LF/3B   13   89  1.33  104    80   57   90   93
    Altuve, Jose            AL           2B   12   93  1.88   86   141  135   90   93
    Yelich, Christian       NL           LF   11   78  0.59  159   128  126   90   92
    Santana, Carlos         AL        1B/DH   18   85  1.47  108   139  122   92   91
    Ellsbury, Jacoby        AL           CF   11   85  0.82  101    90   37  152   89
    Valencia, Danny         AL        3B/LF    3   79  0.14  170   113  142   92   89
    Miller, Bradley         AL        SS/CF   10   77  0.47  145   102   97  150   89
    Arenado, Nolan          NL           3B    9   85  0.63  115   118  135  121   87
    Trumbo, Mark            AL     RF/DH/1B    8   68  0.26  211   115  165   96   86
    Rizzo, Anthony          NL           1B   15   87  1.31  109   128  108   69   86
    Betts, Mookie           AL           CF    6   87  0.50  112   118   79  110   84
    Murphy, Daniel          NL        2B/3B    2   89  0.17  108   150  174  114   84
    Braun, Ryan             NL           RF   12   87  1.00  105   119   75   84   82
    Crisp, Coco             AL           LF    4   88  0.36  117   111   90   88   82
    Donaldson, Josh         AL           3B   15   82  1.00  124   147  143   75   82
    Owings, Christopher     NL     2B/CF/SS    8   84  0.53  115    98   57  122   81
    Polanco, Gregory        NL           RF    8   74  0.35  173   111  123   92   81
    Pedroia, Dustin         AL           2B   11   87  0.92   96   118   81  103   80
    Zimmerman, Ryan         NL           1B    9   80  0.48  153   136  128   64   80
    Pujols, Albert          AL        1B/DH   11   88  1.08  103   137  119   64   79
    Beltre, Adrian          AL           3B    6   89  0.64  112   117  121   59   79
    Kiermaier, Kevin        AL           CF    7   83  0.45  120   110  103  109   78
    Martinez, J.D.          AL           RF   10   69  0.35  178   115  169  117   75
    Pederson, Joc           NL           CF   14   68  0.50  190   133  181   77   75
    *min 50 AB

Let's take a closer look at a bunch of noteworthy skill performances during May.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jackie Bradley (CF, BOS) was profiled as a sell-high candidate after showing poor pitch recognition (6% bb%, 74% ct%, 0.24 Eye) in April. He turned all of those marks around in his elite May: 15% bb%, 84% ct%, 1.07 Eye. While few owners will sell him now, there are some reasons for caution. His continued groundball tilt (50/18/32 G/L/F) makes him a risky bet to sustain impactful power, and his flyball distance is barely breaking into the MLB top 100. In addition, his 38% h% is far higher than any hit rate he has ever posted. So underneath his enticing tools continue to lie some warning signs that point to a regression patch.


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Todd Frazier (3B, CHW) made some subtle gains in May in pitch recognition (14% bb%) and hard contact (108 HctX), helping him post a near-elite BPV that month. Currently he owns career-best marks in walk rate (12% bb%), contact rate (79% ct%), batting eye (0.64 Eye), and flyball rate (50% FB%). As his 20% h% returns back to its prior near-30% h% norm, his BA will head north. Frazier is a good hold.

Brad Miller (SS/CF, TAM) combined strong power (145 PX) and speed (150 Spd) in May, helping him post an .831 OPS after a poor .607 OPS in April. His expected power (81 xPX) tempers optimism that he can continue on his 20-HR pace, but there's immediate 15/15 potential here.

Steve Pearce (LF/1B/2B, TAM) has value because he qualifies at two spots in the infield as well as the outfield. His performance in May reminds us that his production can have value too: 1.036 OPS in 77 AB. His underlying skills supported his surge in May too: 13% bb%, 83% ct%, 0.92 Eye, 176 PX, 155 HctX, 175 xPX. Just bear in mind that his production is more average than impactful against RH arms (.718 OPS); it flourishes against lefties (1.313 OPS).

Jose Ramirez (SS/2B/LF/3B, CLE) continues to feature some of the best plate discipline of any bat in MLB: 13% bb%, 89% ct%, 1.33 Eye. His low rate of hard contact (80 HctX) means we can't expect much power from him (57 xPX), but there remains some latent speed here if he can work his way into more SB opportunities.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Gordon Beckham (3B/2B, ATL) remains on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues, since he is years removed from having any fantasy relevance. That said, tuck away some of the top-tier plate discipline skills he flashed in May: 12% bb%, 89% ct%, 1.33 Eye. He also hit the ball very hard (129 HctX), helping to produce a 123 xPX that validated his actual 129 PX. He's also hitting well and showing good plate discipline against both LH and RH bats. It remains to be seen if he can sustain these gains, but if you play in a deep league and need a 2B or MI, there's some post-hype speculation value here.
 
Chris Herrmann (C, ARI) owns the second-highest flyball distance of any bat in MLB, as well as top 40 exit velocity when he makes contact. His plate skills in May were strong too: 13% bb%, 0.58 Eye, 145 HctX, 205 xPX. He features an elite 213 PX against RH bats. He has emerged as a prime target as your second catcher.

Jung-ho Kang (SS, PIT) posted the highest expected power (285 xPX) of any bat in MLB during the month of May, and it wasn't even close. It's a level that is supported by his average flyball distance of 305 feet, which places him in the top 20 of all batters. Problem is, with a 3% bb% and 0.17 Eye, he'll need to prove that he can adjust to pitchers once they adjust to him. He's an attractive investment but expect volatility.

Marcell Ozuna (CF, MIA) has been one of the hottest hitters in MLB during the past month (.425 BA, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 1.215 OPS in 113 AB). That surge has come with an uptick in pitch recognition too (8% bb%, 81% ct%, 0.45 Eye). He also owns a 150+ Spd, which has only been muted by a total lack of green light (0% SBO% last month). With an average flyball distance increase of nearly 15 feet from 2015 and more of an uppercut in his swing, Ozuna's power growth seems legit. But he's a poor bet to maintain a .300+ BA given his high 40% h% and work-in-progress plate discipline.

Joc Pederson (CF, LA) put up the fifth-best expected power (181 xPX) of any bat in the NL during the month of May. He still struggles to make contact, but his contact rate improved quite a bit from April (64% ct%) to May (69% ct%). His rate of hard contact also is on a two-year uptick (115 HctX). At age 24, he's a good post-hype trade target who hasn't reached his ceiling.

Trayce Thompson (LF, LA) looked electric in the LA OF during May: 6 HR, 14 RBI, .992 OPS in 60 AB. That production did not come at the expense of his plate discipline. In fact, his plate metrics surged across the board in May: 10% bb%, 78% ct%, 0.54 Eye. Just keep in mind that his power was the result of a fluky 40% HR/F; with a 53/15/32 G/L/F, we can't expect him to sustain his power bursts.

Christian Yelich (LF, MIA) continues to be on a path that will result in a breakout. His skills were strong again in May (92 BPV), and his high rate of hard contact (128 HctX) gives him some interesting expected power (126 xPX) that has been kept at bay due to his groundball stroke (56/21/23 G/L/F). When he does loft the ball, his power potential becomes even more evident, as his average flyball distance of 314 feet places him in the top 10 of all MLB bats.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.