It’s mid-June in the MLB. Family vacations, BBQs, pool parties, the NHL Finals, and fireworks occupy our time. It can be tough to put in the hours and stay on top of all things MLB news.
Luckily, Wagerbop is coming through with MLB By the Numbers. We break down the latest MLB happenings into bite-size chunks easily digestible while enjoying your morning coffee, using the bathroom, or riding in the back of an Uber.
The Yankees’ lead over Toronto in the AL East – the largest division lead in the MLB.
At no fault of their own, the Toronto Blue Jays are in the deepest 2nd-place hole in the league. Toronto would be the leader of both the AL and NL Central divisions.
The Yankees are off to a historically stellar 64-game start. Only 4 teams since 1876 have put up a better record over their first 64.
The 2022 Yankees are bested only by some of the all-time great teams including the 1902 Pirates, 1912 Giants, 1939 Yankees, and the most-winning regular season team of all-time – the 2001 Mariners.
This quote comes to mind when talking about the 2022 Yankees. They’re good. They’re real good. I mean, they make good teams look not good.
The number of teams in the MLB with worse records than the Cincinnati Reds.
It was hard to take the Reds seriously with their 3-22 start this year. Cincinnati suffered through one of the worst opening 5-week stretches in MLB history before turning their season around.
The 23-45 Nationals, 22-44 Athletics, and 22-41 Royals are all now worse than Cincinnati in the standings.
Since their 3-22 beginning to the season, the Reds are 20-19. If we began the 2022 season on May 7th, the Reds would be a 2nd-place team in the NL Central and trail the Cardinals by just 1 game.
The Brewers, Cubs, and Pirates have all posted losing records during Cincinnati’s upswing.
The BABIP of Red Sox J.D. Martinez – the highest in the league among qualified hitters.
J.D. Martinez owns the 3rd-highest batting average in the Majors (2nd in the AL) at .342 thanks to a league-high BABIP well above .400.
Luis Arraez of the Twins and Paul Goldschmidt of the Cards are the only 2 MLB players who can boast a higher average than Martinez.
The Red Sox offense is not to be trifled with – containing 3 players hitting above .325.
Xander Bogaerts is just a tick behind Martinez in batting average – hitting a lower .342. Rafael Devers is 6th in baseball at .328.
BABIPs as high as Martinez’s are not sustainable. It is safe to say J.D.’s average will regress toward the mean a bit. How much, though?
Referencing the chart, J.D. can go to all fields but tends to pull his hardest-hit balls. This bodes well in hitter-friendly Fenway Park where he can steal a few free hits off the Monster.
Power-hitting righties will hold elevated BABIPs in Fenway – meaning J.D. could totally sustain a BABIP higher than the average hitter, just not quite this high.
The MLB-leading walk rate of Dodgers’ Max Muncy.
Max Muncy is an utter disappointment this season to Roto League owners who only care about batting average and production.
In OBP or points leagues, however, Muncy is still holding his own.
Shown here are the season stats for Max Muncy and his league rank underneath. Using these metrics, Muncy is a dud. Totally worthless to fantasy owners and his first-place Dodgers alike.
But remember, Muncy leads the MLB in walks. This makes him a top-15 first basemen in head-to-head points fantasy leagues.
It is incredible Muncy maintains his relevance in the fantasy landscape with a miserable batting average and skimpy production.
Muncy’s BABIP of .188 ranks 2nd-lowest among all qualified hitters this season. The poor guy just can’t get a hit to fall.
Muncy is not striking out too much. His 21.4% strikeout rate is a career-low for him in a full season.
Max Muncy is 31. Is he already in decline? His hard-hit ball rate sits at 41.4% for his career but is hovering down below 33% this year.
Even with the reduction in exit velo, Muncy deserves to be hitting at least above .200 with several more RBIs and runs.
Keep an eye on Muncy moving forward. He is worth taking a flier on in fantasy and in the player props market. His MLB-leading walk rate combined with some improved luck at the dish could prove a keen pickup for patient owners.
The strikeout rate of Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom – the highest among qualified hitters in the Majors.
To break down the inner-workings of Patrick Wisdom, first take a look at these two heat maps from Fangraphs. On the left is where pitchers attack Wisdom when the righty is ahead in the count. On the right is where pitchers opt to throw when they are ahead in the count.
Pitchers get the first strike on Patrick Wisdom 65.8% of the time. This is a top-10 (or bottom-10, depending how you look at it) mark in the National League. Wisdom has navigated two-thirds of his at-bats this season from behind in the count.
This gives pitchers ample opportunities to attack him down-and-away, where Wisdom has shown incredible weakness.
Patrick Wisdom does not chase with regularity. His O-Swing% of 30.4% is not even inside the top-100 in the MLB this year. Free swingers like Javier Baez, Luis Robert, and Ozzie Albies possess O-Swing rates in the mid-to-high 40s.
Holding Wisdom back is one thing – the 4th-lowest Contact% in all of baseball.
Wisdom may not leave the strike zone as often as other hitters, but he is rarely successful when he does. An O-Contact% of 50.3% for Wisdom ranks 6th-lowest in the MLB this year – behind Chris Taylor, Avisail Garcia, Tommy Pham, Jorge Mateo, and Javier Baez.
Plenty of hitters manage to absorb bad chase rates and still produce. The scariest part of Wisdom’s stat line is his inability to make contact on pitches inside the strike zone.
His Z-Contact% of 77.3% is the 5th-lowest in the league – joining Chris Taylor as the only player to be bottom-5 in both O-Contact% and Z-Contact%.
Look again at Wisdom’s heat map when behind in the count. Pitchers don’t need to leave the zone. Funneling the ball down-and-away is the secret recipe to retiring Wisdom.
Number of home runs hit by Yankees’ Aaron Judge. Judge smacked his 25th on June 15th. This is only the 2nd time in the past 10 years a player has reached the 25-plateau on or before 6/15.
The most impressive part of Aaron Judge’s home run hitting is that he goes to all fields equally. There is no safe part of the zone to pitch this guy.
Kreighton loves sports, math, writing, and winning — he combines all of them as a writer for WagerBop. His favorite sports to review are MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAABB.
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