Welcome to the first edition of RotoFanatic’s roundtable series! These roundtables will focus on finding specific players to target out of a pool of similar characteristics, typically emphasizing advanced stats. These roundtables will give you an edge on who to pick up off of waivers, who to sell high on, and everything in between. The first roundtable focuses on the following 12 players whose wOBA is substantially outperforming their xwOBA, and our writers take a stab at who they think will continue to outperform their xwOBA throughout the rest of the year.

 

Player (Pos-Team) wOBA xwOBA Difference
Donovan Solano (2B/SS – SFG) .472 .379 .093
Daniel Murphy (1B – COL) .402 .319 .083
Christian Vazquez (C – BOS) .309 .234 .075
Austin Romine (C – DET) .349 .273 .076
Enrique Hernandez (2B – LAD) .297 .223 .074
Hanser Alberto (2B/SS – BAL) .373 .301 .072
Tim Anderson (SS – CWS) .454 .396 .058
Brandon Lowe (OF – TBR) .416 .368 .048
Starlin Castro (2B/3B – WAS) .345 .305 .040
Starling Marte (OF – ARI) .420 .380 .040
Austin Nola (C/1B/2B – SEA) .375 .338 .037
Byron Buxton (OF – MIN) .379 .357 .022

*Stats through 8/12

 

Davey Lou, @sportz_nutt51:

“I’m going to go with the boring answer here, and say Daniel Murphy, with some of it having to do with the fact that he plays his home games at Coors Field. Over the past 3+ seasons, the Rockies’ starting first baseman is hitting .326 against fastballs (which he sees around 60% of the time), .273 vs breaking balls (27%), and .258 vs offspeed pitches (13%). His K%, Solid%, Topped% and FB% are all far from his career numbers, yet he’s still batting .339 on the season.

 

 

With consistent playing time, the Coors effect, good matchups within both Western Divisions, and his ability to put the ball to the bat, Daniel Murphy should still produce, despite the fact that he’s been a bit lucky thus far.”

 

Brad Johnson, @BaseballATeam:

“When I’m looking for players who might outperform their fundamentals (i.e. produce results in excess of the sum of their parts), I tend to hone in on BABIP-related skills. It makes sense for those same traits to influence wOBAxwOBA discrepancies. Anything to massively increase expected HR/FB ratio would also be relevant, but I don’t think that’s in play with any of the hitters on the list. For example, players with low angle contact, spray hitting (especially against lefties), and playing at Coors. Of those listed, Anderson, Edman, Alberto, Solano, and Murphy check enough boxes for me to think they can surprise us with outsized success.”

 

Crosby Spencer, @crosbyspencer1:

“Donovan Solano has definitely had some good fortune on balls in play, most notably nine doubles as compared to five xDoubles. Seven of those nine doubles have come versus righties, which has gone a long way to boosting his OPS vs. RHP to an unsustainable 1.194.  However, with an 84% Contact Rate, a 40.4% line drive rate on all batted ball events (27.8% is league average, per Baseball Savant), and an xBA of .347 by my metrics, Solano looks like a good bet to be a plus-plus asset in the BA department. If Solano maintains his expected stats, this would make him the 49th best hitter in 5×5 Roto leagues.

 

 

Also, my metrics have Brandon Lowe with an expected triple-slash line of .294/.340/.650, versus his actual .319/.363/.708. Lowe has a 1.403 OPS v. LHP, which is obviously not sustainable. But, four of his six homers are vs. LHP, and my metrics show that they were all fully deserved. A .990 xOPS without split issues at the top of a lineup; yes please! Should Lowe maintain his expected stats, this would make him the 15th best hitter in 5×5 Roto leagues.”

 

Michael Govier, @mjgovier

“Over his last three seasons, Starling Marte’s wOBA has fallen short of his expected wOBA. This season he’s outpacing his xwOBA by 25 points. He has upped his BB% this season by being more patient, which is noticeable in his O-Swing being down 3%, his chase contact dropping from 63% to 48%, and his Z-contact up 3%. I think Starling will continue to outpace his expected stats because he has altered his approach to be more patient while focusing on pulling the ball much more than he has the last three years.”

 

 

Carmen Maiorano, @carmsclubhouse

Donovan Solano nearly outperformed his xwOBA last year, and this year he is walking more, striking out less, and hitting the ball harder with a better barrel rate. Small sample size aside (try saying that three times fast), Solano has swung more, but is also making more contact. This leads me to believe that he can keep up the sub-20% strikeout rate. He also has an xBA over .294 for all three types of pitches (fastballs/breakers/offspeed), and his xBA was at least .293 on each type of pitch in 2019. He nearly joined an exclusive group of DJ LeMahieu and JD Davis in having an xBA above .300 for all three pitch types. He must have just missed because his name is an abbreviation.

 

 

This trend indicates that he should avoid prolonged slumps and keep his batting average up. Finally, if he continues to hit the ball hard and at the ideal angles, he should also continue to hit doubles. Add it up, and we have a recipe to outperforming your xwOBA.