Monday, May 18, 2015

And Today the Best Durham Bulls Hitter is ...

Alexi Casilla

This is our first look at the Durham Bulls hitters this year. It’s a bit early and the sample size is pretty small. But still worth a look, I thought. I used a cut off of 50 plate appearances before sorting the table.

This table is sorted by Weighted on Base Average (wOBA), which is one of those newish stats that makes a lot of sense once you dig into it. It essentially weights the various ways a batter can get on base. The explanation at the link might help. The second not-usual stat is Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA). That stat compares the player to the rest of the league in terms of runs contributed.

The players marked by an asterisk are on the Tampa Bay Rays 40-man roster. The players marked with a strike-thru are players who have been with the Bulls and might be coming back before the year is out. Joey Butler went up to the Rays, Leonardo Reginatto went down to Montgomery.

To be honest, I was surprised to see Mr. Casilla come out on the top of the list. I think he’s a terrific second baseman, with a very accurate side-arm snap throw that rarely misses (only one error on the year). But I had not been paying attention to his bat. That could be because I usually undervalue switch hitters. But there he is with 31 hits (5 doubles, 3 home runs), 9 walks, and 14 RBI. At 38 games into the season he is the best of the bunch.

What about the players at the other end of the table? Two are catchers and they, mostly, don’t count. But Hak-Ju Lee and Alan Dykstra? Hard to say. Both are serious talents, neither is having a good year (and it’s been a long time since Lee had a good year).

Hitting coach Dave Myers needs to help these guys find some answers.

This table is a rough guide to what wOBA numbers mean.

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