2017 Sabermetric Awards

To wrap up the season, let’s take a look at the winners of leaders of some interesting sabermetric categories. Not all of these are meant to be indicative of a player’s skill; rather just interesting notes. First, hitters:

Three True Outcomes

To measure this, I added players K%, BB%, HR/PA, and HR/H together.

  1. Joey Gallo, 1B/3B, Texas Rangers
  2. Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees
  3. Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles

This leaderboard surprises no one. It’s essentially Gallo, then Judge, then everybody else. Davis is in third, but he has Giancarlo Stanton and Khris Davis right on his heels.

Good Contact

I utilized Statcast’s xwOBA and players’ Hard%, while also setting contact minimums, to calculate a measure of guys who make consistent, hard contact.

  1. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Nelson Cruz, DH, Seattle Mariners

Two stars and then an aging former star.

Plate Discipline

Z-O Swing% was used to measure discipline.

  1. Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
  2. Jed Lowrie, INF, Oakland A’s
  3. Freddie Freeman, 1B/3B, Atlanta Braves

Votto has long been one of the kings of plate discipline, and he’s still getting better. Lowrie is quite a surprise, but Jeff Sullivan recently dubbed him as one the league’s most improved players.


I used O-Contact% + Z-Contact% to give more weight to making contact outside of the zone.

  1. Melky Cabrera, LF, Chicago White Sox/Kansas City Royals
  2. DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Colorado Rockies
  3. Joe Panik, 2B, San Francisco Giants

All of these guys are sticking with career norms as contact hitters.


Z-Swing% + O-Swing% to see who hacks at everything.

  1. Corey Dickerson, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
  2. Avisail Garcia, RF, Chicago White Sox
  3. Adam Jones, CF, Baltimore Orioles

Dickerson and Garcia opened the season with impressive breakouts that slowly diminished throughout the year. Jones kept doing what he does.

Now, the pitchers:

Contact Managers

Looking at GB%, IFFB%, soft contact rate, and xwOBA allowed.

  1. Dallas Keuchel, SP, Houston Astros
  2. Brad Peacock, SP, Houston Astros
  3. Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians

Keuchel has established himself as the ground-ball king. Kluber and Peacock are fourth and eighth in K/9, so their inclusion is impressive.

Swing Generators

Z-Swing% + O-Swing%

  1. Masahiro Tanaka, SP, New York Yankees
  2. Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants
  3. Jake Odorizzi, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

Tanaka had a rough season, while Bumgarner did not play much of the season. Odorizzi was quite terrible, posting a 5.34 FIP.

Whiff Generators

Z-Contact% + O-Contact%. Lower is better.

  1. Robbie Ray, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians
  3. Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals

These guys are two, four, and three in starter strikeout rate.


Lowest walk rates.

  1. Josh Tomlin, SP, Cleveland Indians
  2. Jeff Samardzija, SP, San Francisco Giants
  3. Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Tomlin did not pitch well all year, but he quietly posted an incredible 0.89 BB/9.


Guys who threw the highest rate of off-speed pitches.

  1. Lance McCullers, SP, Houston Astros
  2. Jordon Montgomery, SP, New York Yankees
  3. Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants

McCullers’ crazy curveball throwing is well known. Montgomery features a lot of curveballs and changeups, while mixing in sliders. Bumgarner throws a heavy dose of sliders, and includes curveballs every so often.

There isn’t much to this. I’m sure there are many categories I could have added. I just wanted to throw out some information that people might be interested in.

We hoped you liked reading 2017 Sabermetric Awards by Henry Still!

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What’s with the unwarranted criticisms?

Nelson Cruz an “aging former star”? – He just completed a three-year, 126 HR binge with a .925 OPS. He’s far better with the bat than he was five years ago.

Avi Garcia’s “breakout…slowly diminished throughout the year”? – His OPS by month was 1029/831/784/593/1003/971. His horrible July was the result of an injury that eventually landed him on the DL. After returning he OPSed 984 in the last 48 games – and the Sox played just about .500 ball. I would hardly call that “diminished”.


I was literally about to say the same thing about Cruz, before I realized you had beaten me to the punch.


Tomlin is a prime example of the shortcomings of K/BB and why K%-BB% is a better stat. His 7.82 K/BB ratio is one of the very best in the league but his overall stats were blech.

I’ve thought for awhile now that TOmlin seems like what would happen if a pitcher ever took the saying “Just throw strikes” a little too literally. Yes he walks nobody but he also strikes out nobody and routinely gets blasted with hard hit balls.