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Stranger Statcast Things

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Heath scours the Statcast leaderboards and brings you the strange things.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We are at the quarter pole of the season, so some of what we have seen should be considered significant and not merely an accident. I will periodically offer up my thoughts on the strangest things I can find over in the Baseball Savant world. If you haven’t checked out all of the goodness that can be found there, you definitely should.

Here’s what stuck out to me.

Jorge Alfaro...

Is nearly as fast as J.T. Realmuto! Everyone knows Realmuto is speedy, as he’s an annual stolen base threat at the catcher position. Realmuto’s sprint speed is 28.5 feet per second, which is tied for 73rd in all of the MLB. That may not sound impressive, but there are a lot of fast guys in the MLB. For reference, Realmuto is faster than Cameron Maybin, Francisco Lindor, A.J. Pollock, and Jean Segura. Nuts.

And who is slotted right after Jean Segura, with a sprint speed of 28.2 feet per second? Jorge Alfaro, a guy we already know to be powerful. Imagine if he added some swipes to his statistics as well. Alfaro is more fleet of foot than Marcus Semien, Mookie Betts, Lorenzo Cain, Didi Gregorius, Denard Span, and Shohei Ohtani. Weird.

Alfaro is also fifth in pop time to second base, while Realmuto is first. Alfaro has the strongest arm among all MLB catchers though, at 90.5 mph. Realmuto’s arm strength is third (87.6 mph) but he makes the exchange faster than Alfaro.

That’s a lot of Alfaro love. The speed thing makes sense when you consider that he once stole 16 bases in the minors. He also stole seven one year and six one year. I guess the Phillies just don’t want him to run, though? What a shame for our fake teams.

Teoscar Hernandez...

Knows how to put the bat on the ball. He ranked eighth in the MLB last year with 9.5 barrels per plate appearance (minimum 50 batted ball events). This year he ranks third in the MLB with a whopping 14.0 Brls/PA, behind only Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. Fun fact, his soon-to-return teammate, Randal Grichuk, was sixth in the MLB with 10.0 Brls/PA in 2017. Maybe Grichuk can work himself into the lineup against left-handed pitchers at times, spelling Curtis Granderson. My TGFBI squad would appreciate more power.

Adam Duvall...

Ranks fifth in OAA (Outs Above Average) in all of baseball. He is only bested by speedy guys like Billy Hamilton, Michael A. Taylor, Odubel Herrera, and Ender Inciarte. I don’t what to do with this stat, honestly. I just wanted to share it with everyone. Duvall is a rare sort of guy whose best tools are power and defense. He’s a bit underrated in the fake game after back-to-back 30-homer campaigns. He’s also suffering from a .200 BABIP this year despite no major changes in his batted ball profile. Better days are ahead, especially if he can get out of that outfield rotation hell in Cincinnati. I’d take a chance on his power bat and plus defense if I were a contending team in need of some offense.

Sean Newcomb...

Keeps some elite company by allowing only 1.7 Brls/PA. He’s third in the MLB behind Carlos Martinez and Jacob deGrom—two guys you may have heard of. He’s also 24th in exit velocity against (86.3 mph) and 14th in hard hit rate (28.7%). Also, not a Statcast thing, but Newcomb is one of only five qualified starters to sport a 50.0% or higher ground ball rate and an above average strikeout rate (21.8% is the MLB average for SPs so far in 2018). The other names are Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers, Gio Gonzalez, and Aaron Nola. They say if you hang out with someone long enough you start to look like them—let’s hope that’s true with Newcomb and this year’s performance has some staying power.

The Dodgers...

Have a pair of young guns who who rank fourth (Ross Stripling) and fifth (Walker Buehler) in Brls/PA. Stripling is fourth in exit velocity against, too (84.8 mph). Only C-Mart, C.C. Sabathia, and Brent Suter (huh?) fare better. Stripling is tops in all of the MLB in hard hit rate, too, as only 23.6% of batted balls against him are 95 mph or greater. Buehler isn’t a slouch, either—he ranks seventh in hard hit rate (26.5 mph). Congrats, Los Angeles. The future looks bright.

Alex Claudio...

Is the largest surprise left on the board. His 2.6 Brls/PA ranks 10th in the MLB, right after guys like Thor, Aaron Nola, and Jake Arrieta. He’s 16th in exit velocity against, too (86.0 mph). He barely trails Jose Berrios and ranks right ahead of Miles Mikolas and Aaron Nola in this regard. It’s interesting that he pops up, because his 4.15 ERA is the worst of his career, but he has a 3.15 FIP and 3.64 xFIP underneath. The .380 BABIP is bound to positively regress, so maybe Claudio gets interesting for Texas at some point in 2018. He doesn’t have the customary heat or strikeout stuff to be a typical closer, but he does elicit a ton of ground balls. We shall see.

That’s it for this edition! Now who is ready for some Uncle Steve Harrington saving the day in Season 3 of Stranger Things?