Red Sox: Selective look at offense and pitching on Statcast
By Rick McNair
A statcast look at the Boston Red Sox offense and pitching.
Statcast is relatively new but it is a treasure trove of statistics that wander into the unusual so I will take a look at some of them as they apply to the Boston Red Sox.
The first is home runs and the home run trot. David Ortiz was notable for enjoying the moment with a leisurely stroll around the bases, but the current Red Sox are a relatively speedy group circling around enjoying the moment.
The slowest may be related to his noted lack of foot speed as Christian Vazquez takes an average of 26.4 seconds going bag to bag. Right behind Vazquez is Xander Bogaerts who makes his rounds in 25 seconds and Bogaerts has a lot of experience doing the trot. Last season, Bogaerts did his slow dance in 24.3 seconds so XB is stalling a bit in 2020.
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Mr. Quick on the trot is Jackie Bradley Jr. who speeds around at 21.1 seconds. Rookie Bobby Dalbec has certainly been working on his trot and is doing 21.3 seconds average on his sudden burst of home runs.
Exit velocity is mentioned when home runs are hit and the leader on the Red Sox is no surprise as Rafael Devers with an average of 92.4 MPH on all bats hit. Devers also plugs in with the hardest ball at 116.4 MPH. Devers is not done on leadership as he also owns the longest home run among Red Sox players at 449 feet.
Average home run distance belongs to J.D. Martinez who has averaged 429 feet on his dingers. The longest is 437 feet so Martinez is consistent when he goes yard. No doubt on his home runs. Bogaerts is second in exit velocity at 112.5 – just ahead of JBJ at 112.4. Bogaerts also owns the second-longest home run at 440 feet.
Then there is xwOBA which you may see in articles, mentioned on social media, or on baseball shows. This stat is formulated using exit velocity, launch angle and, on certain types of batted balls, sprint speed. The full description can be found here.
The leaders are no surprise since it is the players who are considered the best on the team. Bogaerts xwOBA sits at 56 and is two points higher than Martinez before the numbers slide a bit. Devers in third with a 42 xwOBA followed by Alex Verdugo at 30.
Pitchers are not left out in the statistical cold on xwOBA and Phillips Valdez has a 56, but putting that in perspective, Valdez ranks 167th among MLB pitchers. Austin Brice trails behind Valdez at 47 and our preeminent starter this season, lefty Martin Perez, is at 45 and Kyle Hart is at one. If xwOBA is meaningful it is certifiably true based on how our pitching has performed this season.
There are other categories to an in-depth metrics examination of pitching that include such exciting areas as movement, drop, spin, etc. which based on what the Red Sox pitching has accomplished I would suggest Prozac before looking at them.