Low Barrel% Pitchers
Barrel% and xBarrel%
To be honest with you, sometimes I just play around with stats and for this article, I had no idea where I was going with what I had. I’m still confused at the direction of it but hey, it is some interesting information so I figured I would compile it together and offer some of my opinions.
Before I do anything I need to shout out Alex Chamberlain, the guy is awesome and is always so helpful. I highly suggest you reach out to him on twitter and donate money to get the beta of his pitching/hitting chart. Alex also created a metric called a deserved barrel rate (xBarrel%). The definition for Barrel according to MLB.com is “to be Barreled, a batted ball requires an exit velocity of at least 98 mph. At that speed, balls struck with a launch angle between 26-30 degrees always garner Barreled classification. For every mph over 98, the range of launch angles expands.” What Alex does is takes barrel and include the consistency in which a hitter produces their average EV and LA. In the end, he says to look at the biggest outliers between Barrel and xBarrel to find potential buy/sell candidates. His article can be found here.
Now when it comes to pitchers if they allow fewer barrels the better because that means they are letting up weak contact. Using Alex Chamberlain’s chart and his work on xBarrel I decided to see who let up the lowest xBarrel when it came to pitchers and does their normal Barrel percentage support it. Essentially we are finding pitchers who let up a lot of weak contact and I think it is time I stop rambling.
Low Barrel% Pitchers
Eduardo Rodriguez had the second-lowest xBarrel of any pitcher in baseball last year (min 10 starts). He enjoyed a nice season as he pitched over 200 innings with a 3.81 ERA and 3.86 FIP. The main reason for the low xBarrel was because of his two-seam fastball. With a minimum of 300 throws, only four pitches produced a 0.0 Barrel%.
Eduardo Rodriguez: Two-Seam fastball
Lance Lynn: Curveball
Lance Lynn: Cutter
Zack Wheeler: Curveball
The crazy thing is that Rodriguez two-seam had by far the most batted ball events of the group at 93. Lynn’s were at 42 and 84 while Wheeler’s was at 44. While Rodriguez did have a 0.0 Barrel% like the others his was hit more (which could be bad) but still produced little hard contact.
Wade Miley is fourth on the list when it comes to xBarrel%. I am curious as to how low it would be if he didn’t have those few miserable starts late in the season last year. The pitch backing his low Barrel% is his changeup which let up a 1.0 Barrel%. It did have 105 batted ball events which are more than the last grouping. His changeup was great last year as it produced a .206 batting average against with a 16.8 SwStr%.
Noah Syndergaard is third on the list when it comes to xBarrel%. This is surprisingly backed by his four-seam fastball. With all of the pitches that had low barrel rates, he had the only fastball in the group. His fastball had a barrel rate of 2.8% in 145 batted ball events. He also threw this pitch over 900 times which is pretty impressive.
Maeda is a little further down on this list around the top 15 which of course is still great. The main pitch to contribute to his low Barrel% was his changeup. It had 105 batted ball events in the 577 times he threw the pitch. His changeup was lethal last year as it let us a .185 batting average against, .131 ISO, and 54 wRC+.
I love Charlie Morton and I know health is a concern but he is being undervalued in my opinion. Morton’s main reasoning behind his low Barrel rate is his curveball as it had 174 batted ball events in the 1172 times he threw the pitch. That is just awesome and that curveball is so good. Last year his curveball had a .151 batting average against, 0.77 ISO, 22 wRC+, and 16.9 SwStr%. He also, of course, uses it so well as it produced an impressive 24.8 pVAL.
These are the pitchers I found interesting who also had a pitch to back it up. I have to say I do like all of these guys coming in the 2020 fantasy baseball season. As for the overall biggest differentials on Alex chart here are the top five pitchers with positive and negative differences. Also, don’t forget to check out Alex Chamberlain!
Clay Bucholz - 13.2 Barrel% vs 6.3 xBarrel
Nick Pivetta - 10.0 Barrel% vs 6.0 xBarrel
Jorge Lopez - 11.9 Barrel% vs 8.1 xBarrel
Jerad Eickhoff - 10.9 Barrel% vs 8.1 xBarrel
Tyler Glasnow - 5.7 Barrel% vs 2.7 xBarrel (!!!)
Aaron Civale - 2.4 Barrel% vs 6.3 xBarrel
Luke Weaver - 6.3 Barrel% vs 9.9 xBarrel
Jon Gray - 5.9 Barrel% vs 8.5 xBarrel
Frankie Montas - 3.8 Barrel% vs 6.4 xBarrel
Glenn Sparkman - 7.7 Barrel% vs 10.3 xBarrel