This is the third piece in a series of articles looking at batted ball data for batters and pitchers.
Statistics like exit velocity, batted ball distance, and hard hit rate are still relatively new to many daily fantasy players. FantasyLabs Co-Founder Jonathan Bales recently put out a video on how to use batted ball data within our Player Models. This series uses the suite of Labs Tools to explore the DFS value of Statcast data.
Hard Hit Rates
It goes without saying that hitting the ball hard is better than not. Elite hard-contact batters generally have hard hit rates above 38 percent, with the average being in the low-to-mid 30s. Batters with hard hit rates in the low 20s are #notgood.
Fly Ball Rates
The league average for fly ball rates is about 35 percent. Elite power hitters on average have about a 44 percent fly ball rate. Using our Trends tool, we can see how hard hit and fly ball rates relate to each other. A fly ball rate of 42-46 percent is used in the trend:
There is a relatively significant drop across the board in this trend as players make weaker contact. There is also a drop in ownership, which Pro subscribers can review in our DFS Ownership Dashboard.
Line Drive Rates
Generally, the most common batted ball leading to a hit is a line drive. A line drive rate of 25 to 30 percent is used in the trend:
Again, the harder a ball is hit, the more productive a batter is. What’s intriguing about his cohort is that, although the average points are lower across the trend, ownership is lower too. Additionally, hitters with high line drive rates are on average the most consistent batters when factoring in all levels of contact. Still, the Plus/Minus for hitters with elite hard hit and line drive rates is low in comparison to batters with elite hard hit rate and elite fly ball or ground ball rates.
Ground Ball Rates
High contact hitters tend to have ground ball rate above 50 percent, while the league average is about 44 percent. A ground ball rate of 48 to 52 percent is used in the trend:
It turns out that elite contact hitters have the highest Plus/Minus of any subgroup, and ground ball hitters in general have the lowest average ownership of any group, which is something to keep in mind when using our Lineup Builder to create your DFS rosters.
Putting It All Together
There is a clear and direct correlation between hard hit balls and productivity. While power hitters are sexy and popular, there may be an advantage to looking for ‘small ball’ players who hit for contact. When used in combination with other Statcast metrics, Labs statistics, and Vegas data, hard hit rate offers an edge.
Previous installments of the Statcast(unate) Event series can be accessed via my author page.