BATTERS: Leverage splits, 2016

Let's wrap up our mid-season look at notable skill splits by looking at the stats and skills splits of hitters by leverage situation.

First, some batter baselines by leverage situation:

  • Low Leverage Stats & Skills: 2013-2016 YTD
    
    Year  League  BA    OBP   Slg   OPS   ISO  | bb%  ct%  Eye   h%
    ====  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  ==== | ===  ===  ====  ===
    2013      AL  .251  .314  .401  .715  .150 |  8%  78%  0.38  30%
    2014      AL  .252  .313  .389  .702  .138 |  7%  78%  0.37  30%
    2015      AL  .254  .315  .417  .732  .163 |  8%  78%  0.37  30%
    2016*     AL  .253  .318  .417  .735  .164 |  8%  77%  0.38  30%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    2013      NL  .249  .310  .387  .697  .138 |  7%  78%  0.36  30%
    2014      NL  .244  .304  .375  .679  .131 |  7%  76%  0.33  30%
    2015      NL  .252  .313  .398  .711  .145 |  7%  77%  0.35  30%
    2016*     NL  .246  .313  .407  .720  .161 |  8%  76%  0.37  29%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    2013     MLB  .250  .312  .394  .706  .144 |  8%  78%  0.37  30%
    2014     MLB  .248  .309  .382  .691  .134 |  7%  77%  0.35  30%
    2015     MLB  .253  .314  .407  .722  .154 |  8%  77%  0.36  30%
    2016*    MLB  .249  .316  .412  .728  .163 |  8%  76%  0.37  29%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
  • Medium Leverage Stats & Skills: 2013-2016 YTD
    
    Year  League  BA    OBP   Slg   OPS   ISO  | bb%  ct%  Eye   h%
    ====  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  ==== | ===  ===  ====  ===
    2013      AL  .262  .327  .413  .740  .151 |  8%  79%  0.43  31%
    2014      AL  .255  .317  .394  .711  .139 |  8%  79%  0.40  30%
    2015      AL  .258  .320  .411  .730  .153 |  8%  78%  0.39  30%
    2016*     AL  .265  .326  .434  .760  .169 |  8%  78%  0.38  31%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    2013      NL  .254  .318  .394  .712  .140 |  8%  78%  0.40  30%
    2014      NL  .257  .319  .395  .714  .138 |  8%  78%  0.38  31%
    2015      NL  .256  .318  .400  .718  .144 |  8%  77%  0.38  31%
    2016*     NL  .259  .326  .413  .740  .154 |  8%  77%  0.40  31%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    2013     MLB  .258  .323  .404  .726  .145 |  8%  78%  0.41  30%
    2014     MLB  .256  .318  .394  .712  .139 |  8%  78%  0.39  30%
    2015     MLB  .257  .319  .405  .724  .148 |  8%  78%  0.38  30%
    2016*    MLB  .262  .326  .424  .750  .161 |  8%  77%  0.39  31%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
  • High Leverage Stats & Skills: 2013-2016 YTD
    
    Year  League  BA    OBP   Slg   OPS   ISO    bb%  ct%  Eye   h%
    ====  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  ==== | ===  ===  ====  ===
    2013      AL  .251  .323  .384  .707  .133 |  9%  76%  0.45  31%
    2014      AL  .252  .324  .380  .703  .127 |  9%  76%  0.43  31%
    2015      AL  .253  .323  .393  .716  .140 |  9%  76%  0.43  31%
    2016*     AL  .252  .329  .413  .742  .161 | 10%  75%  0.46  30%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    2013      NL  .249  .325  .376  .700  .127 | 10%  76%  0.48  30%
    2014      NL  .243  .317  .370  .688  .127 |  9%  75%  0.43  30%
    2015      NL  .250  .321  .381  .702  .131 |  9%  75%  0.41  31%
    2016*     NL  .252  .327  .397  .723  .145 |  9%  75%  0.44  31%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    2013     MLB  .250  .324  .380  .704  .130 |  9%  76%  0.46  31%
    2014     MLB  .248  .320  .375  .695  .127 |  9%  75%  0.43  31%
    2015     MLB  .252  .322  .387  .709  .135 |  9%  75%  0.42  31%
    2016*    MLB  .252  .328  .405  .733  .153 | 10%  75%  0.45  31%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    *thru June 26

The data above shows that batters consistently hit for their highest batting average in medium-leverage situations, while they hit for the least amount of power in high-leverage spots.

***

Let's take a look at the individual batters who have shown significant splits as the leverage situation changes. Given that we are still dealing with small sample sizes in some cases, we'll restrict our look to those with significant and steady changes as the leverage situation gets higher or lower.

The following bats have steadily seen their batting average increase or decrease as the leverage situation goes from low to medium to high so far in 2016:

Batting Average by Leverage Situation*

                                      ---------Batting Average by Leverage---------
Name                League  Position  Low   Medium  High  Med vs. Low  High vs. Low
==================  ======  ========  ====  ======  ====  ===========  ============
Bruce, Jay              NL        RF  .211    .324  .455        +.113         +.244
Grandal, Yasmani        NL         C  .119    .207  .333        +.088         +.214
Pillar, Kevin           AL        CF  .205    .287  .385        +.082         +.180
Bogaerts, Xander        AL        SS  .301    .362  .471        +.061         +.170
Herrmann, Chris         NL      C/OF  .231    .333  .389        +.102         +.158
Cron, C.J.              AL     1B/DH  .216    .294  .364        +.078         +.148
Upton, Justin           AL        LF  .197    .260  .333        +.063         +.136
Fielder, Prince         AL     DH/1B  .161    .262  .286        +.101         +.125
Castro, Starlin         AL     2B/SS  .214    .275  .333        +.061         +.119
Diaz, Aledmys           NL        SS  .273    .354  .364        +.081         +.091
Kendrick, Howie         NL        2B  .200    .273  .278        +.073         +.078
Semien, Marcus          AL        SS  .211    .273  .286        +.062         +.075
Pedroia, Dustin         AL        2B  .274    .346  .348        +.072         +.074
Panik, Joe              NL        2B  .228    .295  .300        +.067         +.072
Duffy, Matt             NL        3B  .223    .278  .286        +.055         +.063
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Peralta, David          NL        RF  .339    .242  .120        -.097         -.219
Saunders, Michael       AL        LF  .348    .280  .143        -.068         -.205
Longoria, Evan          AL        3B  .287    .283  .087        -.004         -.200
Polanco, Gregory        NL        RF  .348    .261  .154        -.087         -.194
Tulowitzki, Troy        AL        SS  .287    .176  .100        -.111         -.187
Park, Byung Ho          AL     DH/1B  .218    .208  .043        -.010         -.175
Morales, Kendrys        AL        DH  .276    .189  .111        -.087         -.165
Martinez, J.D.          AL        RF  .317    .261  .158        -.056         -.159
Grichuk, Randal         NL        CF  .232    .215  .077        -.017         -.155
Jones, Adam             AL        CF  .281    .273  .130        -.008         -.151
LeMahieu, D.J.          NL        2B  .350    .309  .200        -.041         -.150
Bryant, Kris            NL  3B/LF/1B  .299    .238  .150        -.061         -.149
Inciarte, Ender         NL        CF  .298    .212  .150        -.086         -.148
Flowers, Tyler          NL         C  .327    .194  .190        -.133         -.137
Bradley Jr, Jackie      AL        CF  .346    .260  .217        -.086         -.129
Suzuki, Kurt            AL         C  .296    .278  .167        -.018         -.129
Mauer, Joe              AL     1B/DH  .310    .250  .188        -.060         -.122
Aoki, Nori              AL        LF  .269    .242  .160        -.027         -.109
Betts, Mookie           AL        RF  .318    .284  .217        -.034         -.101
Cano, Robinson          AL        2B  .322    .285  .222        -.037         -.100
Molina, Yadier          NL         C  .290    .233  .190        -.057         -.100
*min 50 PA low/medium leverage, min 20 PA high leverage

These hitters have posted the widest isolated power (ISO) splits between low and high-leverage situations:

ISO Power by Leverage Situation*

                                      -------------ISO Power by Leverage-----------
Name                League  Position  Low   Medium  High  Med vs. Low  High vs. Low
==================  ======  ========  ====  ======  ====  ===========  ============
Grandal, Yasmani        NL         C  .075    .171  .467        +.096         +.392
Plouffe, Trevor         AL        3B  .104    .130  .438        +.026         +.334
Davis, Chris            AL  1B/DH/RF  .179    .294  .480        +.115         +.301
Desmond, Ian            AL     SS/CF  .175    .190  .458        +.015         +.283
Russell, Addison        NL     SS/2B  .088    .159  .357        +.071         +.269
Suarez, Eugenio         NL     3B/SS  .149    .221  .409        +.072         +.260
Cain, Lorenzo           AL        CF  .074    .167  .333        +.093         +.259
Granderson, Curtis      NL        RF  .185    .214  .444        +.029         +.259
Smoak, Justin           AL        1B  .124    .158  .375        +.034         +.251
Lind, Adam              AL     1B/DH  .126    .238  .333        +.112         +.207
Upton, Justin           AL        LF  .127    .135  .333        +.008         +.206
Turner, Justin          NL        3B  .142    .194  .345        +.052         +.203
Bogaerts, Xander        AL        SS  .111    .165  .294        +.054         +.183
Kendrick, Howie         NL        2B  .059    .081  .222        +.022         +.163
Fielder, Prince         AL     DH/1B  .080    .168  .238        +.088         +.158
Marte, Ketel            AL        SS  .050    .094  .200        +.044         +.150
Votto, Joey             NL        1B  .128    .211  .273        +.083         +.145
Franco, Maikel          NL        3B  .173    .178  .318        +.005         +.145
Cabrera, Melky          AL        LF  .141    .181  .280        +.040         +.139
Nunez, Eduardo          AL  SS/3B/2B  .111    .189  .240        +.078         +.129
Crisp, Coco             AL     LF/DH  .143    .200  .263        +.057         +.120
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cruz, Nelson            AL     DH/RF  .364    .204  .000        -.160         -.364
Pederson, Joc           NL        CF  .352    .168  .045        -.184         -.307
Grichuk Randal          NL        CF  .303    .101  .000        -.202         -.303
Baez, Javier            NL  2B/3B/SS  .293    .077  .000        -.216         -.293
Saunders, Michael       AL        LF  .391    .196  .107        -.195         -.284
Bradley Jr, Jackie      AL        CF  .362    .200  .087        -.162         -.275
Jones, Adam             AL        CF  .258    .182  .000        -.076         -.258
Seager, Corey           NL        SS  .275    .229  .031        -.046         -.244
Longoria, Evan          AL        3B  .280    .265  .043        -.015         -.237
Flowers, Tyler          NL         C  .236    .060  .000        -.176         -.236
LeMahieu, D.J.          NL        2B  .220    .138  .000        -.082         -.220
Espinosa, Danny         NL     SS/2B  .220    .200  .000        -.020         -.220
White, Tyler            AL     1B/DH  .216    .178  .000        -.038         -.216
Seager, Kyle            AL        3B  .276    .218  .065        -.058         -.211
McCann, Brian           AL         C  .267    .132  .059        -.135         -.208
Braun, Ryan             NL        LF  .254    .208  .050        -.046         -.204
Peralta, David          NL        RF  .232    .197  .040        -.035         -.192
Bryant, Kris            NL  3B/LF/1B  .286    .238  .100        -.048         -.186
Polanco, Gregory        NL        RF  .241    .228  .077        -.013         -.164
Cabrera, Asdrubal       NL        SS  .162    .150  .000        -.012         -.162
Tulowitzki, Troy        AL        SS  .310    .129  .150        -.181         -.160
Ramos, Wilson           NL         C  .273    .173  .115        -.100         -.158
Suzuki, Kurt            AL         C  .211    .097  .056        -.114         -.155
Giavotella, Johnny      AL            .154    .138  .000        -.016         -.154
*min 50 PA low/medium leverage, min 20 PA high leverage

Finally, here are the guys whose contact rates surge or dip as the leverage situation changes:

Contact Rate by Leverage Situation*

                                      ------------Contact Rate by Leverage---------
Name                League  Position  Low   Medium  High  Med vs. Low  High vs. Low
==================  ======  ========  ====  ======  ====  ===========  ============
Davis, Chris            AL  1B/DH/RF   59%     61%   80%          +3%          +21%
Herrera, Odubel         NL        CF   75%     80%   94%          +5%          +19%
Herrmann, Chris         NL      C/OF   65%     73%   83%          +7%          +18%
Werth, Jayson           NL        LF   70%     76%   88%          +6%          +17%
Gonzalez, Adrian        NL        1B   72%     78%   89%          +6%          +17%
Flowers, Tyler          NL         C   60%     61%   76%          +1%          +16%
Harper, Bryce           NL        RF   75%     81%   91%          +6%          +16%
Martin, Russell         AL         C   64%     67%   77%          +3%          +13%
Russell, Addison        NL     SS/2B   66%     70%   79%          +5%          +13%
Martinez, Victor        AL     DH/1B   83%     87%   95%          +4%          +12%
Escobar, Alcides        AL        SS   83%     85%   95%          +2%          +12%
Castellanos, Nick       AL        3B   71%     75%   83%          +4%          +11%
LeMahieu, D.J.          NL        2B   82%     90%   93%          +8%          +11%
Galvis, Freddy          NL        SS   75%     78%   86%          +3%          +11%
Beltran, Carlos         AL        RF   75%     82%   86%          +6%          +11%
Alonso, Yonder          AL        1B   82%     87%   92%          +5%          +10%    
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pearce, Steve           AL 1B/2B/DH/LF 88%     78%   59%         -10%          -29%
Gonzalez, Carlos        NL        RF   80%     75%   54%          -5%          -26%
White, Tyler            AL     1B/DH   80%     68%   58%         -11%          -22%
Stanton, Giancarlo      NL        RF   66%     58%   45%          -8%          -21%
Trumbo, Mark            AL     RF/DH   74%     73%   55%          -1%          -19%
Giavotella, Johnny      AL        2B   92%     87%   73%          -5%          -19%
Martinez, J.D.          AL        RF   76%     70%   58%          -5%          -18%
Valencia, Danny         AL     3B/LF   81%     80%   65%          -1%          -17%
Dozier, Brian           AL        2B   85%     81%   69%          -4%          -16%
Abreu, Jose             AL        1B   83%     75%   68%          -9%          -16%
Tulowitzki, Troy        AL        SS   75%     74%   60%          -1%          -15%
Mercer, Jordy           NL        SS   88%     80%   74%          -8%          -14%
Cain, Lorenzo           AL        CF   81%     74%   67%          -6%          -14%
Morales, Kendrys        AL        DH   80%     78%   67%          -2%          -13%
Saunders, Michael       AL        LF   77%     64%   64%         -13%          -13%
Pence, Hunter           NL        RF   81%     78%   68%          -3%          -13%
Dickerson, Corey        AL     DH/LF   75%     70%   63%          -5%          -13%
Davis, Rajai            AL        CF   75%     75%   63%          -1%          -12%
Crisp, Coco             AL     LF/DH   86%     85%   74%          -1%          -12%
Lee, Dae-ho             AL        1B   80%     78%   68%          -2%          -11%
Espinosa, Danny         NL     SS/2B   76%     68%   65%          -8%          -11%
Hechavarria, Adeiny     NL        SS   89%     87%   78%          -2%          -11%
Marte, Ketel            AL        SS   84%     79%   73%          -5%          -11%
Seager, Kyle            AL        3B   88%     78%   77%          -9%          -10%
Eaton, Adam             AL        RF   86%     82%   76%          -4%          -10%
Norris, Derek           NL         C   78%     71%   68%          -7%          -10%
Betts, Mookie           AL        RF   88%     83%   78%          -5%          -10%
Prado, Martin           NL        3B   88%     87%   79%          -1%          -10%
*min 50 PA low/medium leverage, min 20 PA high leverage

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jackie Bradley Jr (CF, BOS) seemingly couldn't get any better, given his current .300 BA and .961 OPS. But he's got more upside than that. His batting average and power are on full display in low-leverage situations: .346 BA, .362 ISO. Those marks reduce to a .260 BA and .200 ISO in medium-leverage spots. They collapse in high-leverage situations: .217 BA, .087 ISO. Improvement in high-pressure situations would help Bradley boost his surface stats even more.

Nelson Cruz (DH/RF, SEA) is another bat who struggles more as the pressure mounts. Reference his poor .207 BA, 69% ct%, and .000 ISO in high-leverage spots. He has a 72%+ ct% in other AB, and his power blossoms in low-leverage situations (.364 ISO).

Byung Ho Park (DH/1B, MIN) also could experience a big boost in his stats if he can solve his high-pressure demons (.043 BA, 48% ct%, 0.043 ISO). His power upside is on display in medium leverage at-bats (.297 ISO). With an overall 151 xPX, he's definitely got the power upside to be an impact corner bat, but he'll need to make more contact in high-pressure situations to tap into it.

Steve Pearce (1B/2B/DH/LF, TAM) has plenty of value merely due to qualifying at multiple positions in the IF and OF. His surface stats also have the potential to improve if he can make better contact in high-leverage spots. He has a 59% ct% then, compared to an 88% ct% in low-leverage AB.

Michael Saunders (LF, TOR) has delivered his owners significant profit so far in 2016. His returns would be even better if he could duplicate his success in low-leverage spots (.348 BA, 77% ct%, .391 ISO) to high-leverage situations (.143 BA, 64% ct%, .107 ISO).

Kyle Seager (3B, SEA) has the potential to see a surge in his RBI if he can perform at a higher level in high-pressure situations. He has a .226 BA and .065 ISO in high-leverage situations, compared to a .276 BA and .276 ISO in low-leverage spots.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Javier Baez (2B/3B/SS) is not producing at a level commensurate with his power upside (.256 BA, 6 HR, 20 RBI in 164 AB). That said, his MLB contact rate is now on a two-year uptick (55% to 68% to 76% ct%). And his raw power is evident in low-leverage AB, during which he also has maintained a solid level of contact (.307 BA, 77% ct%, .293 ISO). He has struggled to hit for any power in medium and high-leverage situations. At age 23, Baez is a premium growth stock who has shown more growth in 2016 than it may seem.

Kris Bryant (3B/LF/1B, CHC) is another bat with a lot of potential who hasn't fulfilled his breakout potential yet. Digging deeper, his massive struggles in high-pressure situations appears to be the culprit: .150 BA, 60% ct%, .100 ISO. He fares much better in low-leverage spots .299 BA, 74% ct%, .286 ISO.

Randal Grichuk (CF, STL) is available in many leagues due to his MLB inconsistency and recent demotion to Triple-A. Before you dismiss his bat, note that he showed top-shelf power in low leverage situations with STL (.303 ISO). That mark dipped to a poor .101 ISO in medium-leverage spots and a complete absence of power (.000 ISO) in high-leverage situations. He's a good stash on your bench if you need to speculate on power in the second half.

David Peralta (RF, ARI) has managed only 15 RBI in 147 AB. The primary reason has been some serious struggles in high-pressure situations: .120 BA, 64% ct%, .040 ISO. He produces both batting average and power in low-leverage situations: .339 BA, .232 ISO.

Gregory Polanco (RF, PIT) is a young hitter with emerging power, especially in certain situations. He looks like a middle-of-the-order bat in low-pressure situations (.241 ISO). That mark dips a bit in medium-leverage spots (.228 ISO). It falls off the table when the pressure mounts (.077 ISO). An adjustment there could help Polanco fulfill his 25-HR upside, especially given his optimistic xPX trend (87-95-120 xPX).


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