Table 2: Hitters with the most to show for their quality of contact
Name wOBA xwOBA Difference
Stephen Vogt .327 .304 .023
Mike Yastrzemski .308 .293 .015
Pablo Sandoval .366 .356 .010
Kevin Pillar .289 .288 .001
Steven Duggar .268 .276 -.008
League Avg. .322 .321 .001
You might see the results of these tables and think: “Wow, the San Francisco Giants have really been unlucky this year, maybe that wild-card idea isn’t so far-fetched.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is where things get complicated since xwOBA doesn’t take into account park factors.
It makes it easier to compare players from different teams but makes it difficult to draw conclusions for players in extreme home environments. Playing in a pitcher’s park,n a pitcher, it’s fair to expect Giants hitters to always underperform their expected stats a bit and for pitchers to outperform a bit. The question is, by how much?
For one, different profiles of hitters should do better than others. Belt, a left-handed power hitter without incredible pull-power is worse off than anyone. There is probably no archetype more hampered by Oracle Park’s design. Yet, even for his career, he’s only underperformed his xwOBA by .020 points. Posey, a right-handed hitter with a more all-fields approach, has only underperformed by .012 points for his career.
That bodes poorly for the players at the top of Table 2, especially Vogt and Yastrzemski who aren’t exactly putting up big numbers with their good fortune. Obviously, Sandoval stands out as the only hitter who’s been both lucky and above league-average. The good news for him is that even with pretty severe regression, he’s still in line for a surprising renaissance season.