After every minor league season is complete one of my favorite things to do is to download all of the play-by-play files from Minor League Baseball and dive into the data. While my job means that I’m watching 200+ minor league games a year either in person or through MiLB.tv, there’s not enough time in the day to watch every game on every day and even if there were, remembering all of that for every player simply isn’t something I’m able to do (how many people can?).
With the data downloaded though, I can build spray charts and hit data for all of the hitters. That helps build a better profile for what kind of hitter they currently are, where their strengths and weaknesses are and where they could possibly improve at. As the offseason goes along, a bunch of this data will come out. Today though, is one of my favorites. We are going to look at the data for which players hit for the most power to which part of the field.
Every hitter alive has more power to the pull-side than they do going the other way. They don’t all use it enough, but pulling the ball for power is easier than hitting the ball the other way for power. Hitting for power the other way can make a player stand out, but some guys simply pull everything and still crush the ball (Jose Bautista is the famous example of a guy who decided to pull everything and it turned his career around).
Who hit for the most pull power?
For this we are looking at isolated power, which is SLG-AVG. That eliminates singles from the slugging equation and only measures the actual power part of slugging percentage. So, which Cincinnati Reds prospect showed the most pull power to the outfield in 2016? Note: Pull% is the rate at which the player pulled the ball to their pull side into the outfield among all balls put in play, while pull Isolated Power numbers are only for balls that reached the outfield.
|Daniel Sweet (RHH)||8.8%||1.000|
|Michael Beltre (LHH)||7.2%||.875|
I’ve included how often the hitter pulled the ball because context matters. If you barely pull the ball, like Daniel Sweet did from the right side, or like Michael Beltre did from the left side, the power doesn’t play nearly as much as it does for the other three on the list who pulled the ball a lot more and did tons of damage when pulling it. On this list only Scott Schebler saw significant playing time in full-season ball. If we want to look at the top five of players who saw significant playing time in full season ball it would look like this:
Schebler still dominates the list, but what’s surprising is that two players who played in Daytona and the Florida State League show up here. Angelo Gumbs and Aristides Aquino both rank highly here despite very pitcher friendly confines. Steve Selsky is a big surprise on the list as well, though he’s also the guy with the lowest pull rate among the top five players.
Who hit for the most power to Center Field?
|Daniel Sweet (RHH)||17.6%||.667|
|Michael Beltre (LHH)||17.1%||.526|
|Daniel Sweet (LHH)||18.3%||.489|
Daniel Sweet finds himself at the top of power hit to in center field as well, both from the right side of the plate. Now, that’s certainly worth noting because he only had 54 plate appearances from the right side on the season – so his numbers are insanely small to look at. Sweet does however find himself at the fifth spot on the list as well, this time as a left hander where he had a larger sample size. Aristides Aquino is also on the list for the second time, as is Michael Beltre for the second time. Only Aquino saw a lot of time in full-season ball. Let’s look at the top five for guys who fit that bill.
At the top of the list, of course, was Aquino. But just how much of a lead he has over the second place hitter is almost laughable. Reydel Medina’s got tons of power and he’s got a decent lead from the second spot.
Who hit for the most opposite field power?
|Michael Beltre (RHH)||2.2%||1.000|
|Daniel Sweet (RHH)||17.6%||.600|
|Michael Beltre (LHH)||18.0%||.600|
A lot of repeat names here. Michael Beltre is at the top of the list as a right hander, but with the limited sample size and the fact that he literally hit the ball one time to right field from the right side, a double, it makes that data useless. The same can be applied to Daniel Sweet given the small (but larger) sample size for him from the right side. Beltre, however, is on the list as a left hander and he crushed the ball the opposite way from the left side. Manny Cruz makes his first appearance on the lists and Reydel Medina shows up again. Let’s look at the list for full-season players.
Three of these names aren’t surprises as they’re known to be some of the top power guys in the system. However, seeing Luis Gonzalez and Ty Washington show up on the list is surprising. Washington doesn’t go the other way too frequently, but when he did, he made it count from a power perspective. The same can be said for Luis Gonzalez.
Here’s the list for every player in the system (stateside + Alfredo Rodriguez) and the amount of power that they hit to for each outfield spot.
|Daniel Sweet (RHH)||1.000||.667||.600||2.267|
|Michael Beltre (LHH)||.875||.526||.600||2.001|
|Michael Beltre (RHH)||.400||.214||1.000||1.614|
|Daniel Sweet (LHH)||.595||.489||.308||1.392|
|Ronald Bueno (LHH)||.615||.324||.189||1.128|
|Mitch Piatnik (LHH)||.500||.316||.217||1.033|
|Alejo Lopez (RHH)||.400||.286||.000||.686|
|Chris Berset (RHH)||.389||.238||.000||.627|
|Mitch Piatnik (RHH)||.400||.000||.000||.400|
|Alejo Lopez (LHH)||.222||.000||.130||.352|
|Chris Berset (LHH)||.100||.000||.000||.100|