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Roto Roundup: Corey Seager, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Hard% Leaders, and others

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Ray offer his thoughts on some of the top performers from Thursday's MLB action, including taking a look at the Hard% leaders, Corey Seager, Eduardo Rodriguez, and others.

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HARD% Leaders through May 28th

Most every Friday, Tim Finnegan has published the Hard Hit% leaders from Inside Edge. The stat is the percentage of at bats that end in a hard hit ball, and it's the same stat that has been popularized by ESPN's Mark Simon in recent years. Today, I provide you with the top 40 hitters based on the Hard% stat featured over at FanGraphs batted ball pages. Note that this is a different stat than the one we've been posting.

According to FanGraphs, here is their explanation on what this data is:

Quality of Contact Stats (Soft%, Med%, and Hard%) represent the percentage of a hitter or pitcher's batted balls that have been hit with a certain amount of authority. The percentages will sum to 100%, totaling all of a player's batted balls hit or allowed. While a lot of statistics are based on the outcome of the play (i.e. hit or not), quality of contact stats are more like pitch velocity in that they define a process that occurred en route to an outcome.

Soft%, Med%, and Hard% are based on data from Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) which attempt to capture how well each baseball was hit. The data goes back to 2002, but the methodology for calculating the stats changed in 2010. Quality of contact doesn't perfectly correlate with success on the field, but in general, hitting the ball hard or allowing weak contact is better than the alternative.

And here is how they recommend using the data:

The key to using quality of contact stats is to use them cautiously. They provide a different look than what we've had for many years, but there's measurement error built into the calculations and we don't have a perfect understanding of how quality of contact leads to positive outcomes. We also don't know much about how quickly you can trust the data and how well it ages.

In general, you want to use quality of contact data to get a handle on the underlying quality of the swings of the hitter. Hitting the ball hard generally means you're a good hitter, so you can use them to infer true talent or to determine the direction of a player's luck over the course of a season. It typically takes two or three years for batted ball luck to even out and the quality of contact numbers might help you figure out where the luck is pointing earlier than that.

With all that said, here are the Hard% leaders as of May 27th, 2015:

Name

LD%

GB%

FB%

HR/FB

Soft%

Med%

Hard%

Giancarlo Stanton

20.50%

34.20%

45.30%

24.50%

18.00%

34.20%

47.90%

Brandon Belt

35.00%

35.00%

30.10%

16.10%

11.70%

41.80%

46.60%

Alex Rodriguez

20.40%

38.10%

41.60%

23.40%

9.70%

45.10%

45.10%

Troy Tulowitzki

20.00%

38.30%

41.70%

4.00%

14.20%

41.70%

44.20%

Ryan Howard

25.90%

33.00%

41.10%

21.70%

8.00%

49.10%

42.90%

Freddie Freeman

27.70%

30.80%

41.50%

9.30%

8.50%

49.20%

42.30%

Bryce Harper

23.60%

31.80%

44.50%

36.70%

13.40%

44.60%

42.00%

Ryan Braun

14.50%

48.40%

37.10%

26.10%

15.30%

42.70%

41.90%

Mike Trout

22.40%

35.10%

42.50%

19.30%

13.40%

44.80%

41.80%

Paul Goldschmidt

21.60%

38.40%

40.00%

24.00%

10.40%

48.80%

40.80%

Matt Carpenter

26.90%

31.30%

41.80%

14.30%

14.10%

45.20%

40.70%

Colby Rasmus

24.10%

27.70%

48.20%

20.00%

16.70%

42.90%

40.50%

Miguel Cabrera

21.30%

39.00%

39.70%

20.40%

8.10%

51.50%

40.40%

Brandon Moss

18.30%

36.50%

45.20%

14.90%

17.30%

42.30%

40.40%

Chris Davis

22.80%

35.90%

41.30%

26.30%

5.40%

54.40%

40.20%

Todd Frazier

23.00%

31.10%

45.90%

22.60%

17.80%

42.20%

40.00%

Prince Fielder

21.70%

42.20%

36.10%

16.70%

11.50%

48.80%

39.80%

J.D. Martinez

25.60%

33.10%

41.30%

18.00%

13.20%

47.10%

39.70%

Lucas Duda

33.30%

25.40%

41.30%

15.40%

14.30%

46.00%

39.70%

Josh Donaldson

15.00%

43.80%

41.20%

20.60%

15.60%

44.80%

39.60%

Adam Lind

14.90%

46.50%

38.60%

15.90%

15.80%

44.70%

39.50%

Jorge Soler

29.90%

41.90%

28.20%

9.10%

10.30%

50.40%

39.30%

Pedro Alvarez

19.40%

55.30%

25.20%

34.60%

11.70%

49.50%

38.80%

Joc Pederson

19.40%

43.90%

36.70%

33.30%

16.20%

45.50%

38.40%

Steven Souza

22.20%

46.90%

30.90%

28.00%

21.40%

40.50%

38.10%

Jhonny Peralta

23.40%

44.10%

32.40%

14.90%

15.90%

46.20%

37.90%

Adrian Gonzalez

27.40%

34.10%

38.50%

19.20%

16.90%

45.60%

37.50%

Evan Longoria

25.70%

31.60%

42.60%

8.60%

15.40%

47.10%

37.50%

George Springer

26.00%

46.20%

27.90%

24.10%

18.10%

44.80%

37.10%

Brandon Crawford

21.10%

45.50%

33.30%

14.60%

12.10%

50.80%

37.10%

Justin Upton

19.00%

36.50%

44.40%

21.40%

15.10%

48.40%

36.50%

Mark Trumbo

16.10%

43.20%

40.70%

16.70%

14.40%

49.20%

36.40%

Matt Adams

19.30%

40.40%

40.40%

9.10%

11.80%

51.80%

36.40%

Logan Morrison

16.10%

42.30%

41.60%

10.50%

13.00%

50.70%

36.20%

Jay Bruce

21.60%

33.30%

45.00%

14.00%

12.60%

51.40%

36.00%

Adam LaRoche

21.30%

44.90%

33.70%

13.30%

18.00%

46.10%

36.00%

Will Middlebrooks

21.90%

38.60%

39.50%

13.30%

20.20%

43.90%

36.00%

Anthony Rizzo

26.10%

37.30%

36.60%

17.30%

22.20%

42.40%

35.40%

Jimmy Paredes

27.40%

47.20%

25.50%

22.20%

19.40%

45.40%

35.20%

Brad Miller

22.30%

52.40%

25.20%

19.20%

14.30%

50.50%

35.20%

The hitters that stand out on the leader board are the following:

Ryan Howard, Phillies

His Hard% is up almost 10% from last season, so I wonder if his solid start to the 2015 season is sustainable, and whether he could approach 30 home runs once again in 2015.

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

His name atop this list is confusing, as he is suffering through his worst season ever, as his power as measured by ISO (.136) and SLG (.403) are at career lows right now. Hopefully for his owners more of his hard hit balls will land in the seats as the weather warms across the nation. I have a hunch that he may not be 100% healthy coming back from hip surgery, but I wouldn't rule out a strong second half from Tulo.

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

Carpenter is hitting for a lot more power this season, as he already has equaled his home run output (8) from last year in just the first two months of the season. His 41% Hard% is up from 33% last season, so maybe the improvement in his power game will last all season. His .254 ISO, .568 SLG and 161 wRC+ are all career highs right now. Is this sustainable?

Corey Seager goes 6 for 6 with 6 RBI

Dodgers shortstop prospect Corey Seager was promoted to AAA Oklahoma City back in early May, it may have been May 1st, after tearing up AA to the tune of .375-.407-.675 with 5 home runs, 17 runs scored and 15 RBI in just 86 plate appearances. The move to AAA proved to be a challenge for a few weeks, but after yesterday's performance, we could say he is back into the groove. Yesterday, he went 6-6 with a home run and 6 RBI in Oklahoma City's 14-11 win over Salt Lake City. According to Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, Seager had a big four game series vs SLC:

Seager was 13-for-18 with three home runs, four doubles and two walks in the four-game series against the Bees, driving in 10 runs and scoring six.

As a Dodgers fan, I am hoping to see him with the big league club this season, and can dream of this lineup later in the season:

Joc Pederson, CF

Howie Kendrick, 2B

Yasiel Puig, RF

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

Hector Olivera, 3B

Corey Seager, SS

Alex Guerrero, LF

Yasmani Grandal, C

With a bench of Jimmy Rollins, Justin Turner, Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis. Pretty darn good lineup, eh?

In all seriousness, more than likely Seager won't be called up till September at the earliest, but a Dodgers fan can dream, right?

Roto Roundup

The Red Sox called up top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez on Thursday to make his first major league start against the hot hitting Rangers lineup. The Rangers have scored 52 runs over their last six games, so ERod faced a tall task heading into his first big league start last night. Well, he was better than good, as he shut out the Rangers on 3 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts in 7.2 innings last night. He is scheduled to be sent back down to AAA after the game, but the Red Sox may want to reconsider that decision. He pitched great last night, and the Red Sox could use a consistent starter in their rotation.

White Sox ace Chris Sale appears to be all the way back after a rough few starts back in late April and early May. Yesterday afternoon, Sale dominated the Orioles in Camden Yard, shutting them out on 4 hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts over 7.2 innings in the White Sox 3-2 win. The win moved his record to 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a 66-14 strikeout to walk rate in 59 innings this season. Sale has given up just 6 earned runs over his last four starts covering 31.2 innings. Over those same four starts, Sale has struck out 40 and walked just four batters, so he is back to his dominating ways.

Coming into this season, I was pretty high on White Sox first baseman/DH Adam LaRoche playing half of his games in U.S. Cellular Field, as I projected his power to play up more than in Washington. That projection has been wrong through the first two months of the season. But, yesterday, he did go yard, and maybe that is what he needs to get his power stroke back. He went 4-7 in the double header with the Orioles with the home run and 3 RBI and is now hitting .241-.371-.393 with 5 home runs, 19 runs scored and 20 RBI. LaRoche has always been a streaky hitter in his career, and his home runs usually come in bunches, so I would run and call him a bust just yet.

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