2023 Diamondbacks: Taking a trip down Statcast lane

Kansas City Royals v Arizona Diamondbacks
Kansas City Royals v Arizona Diamondbacks / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

( I gathered all the following information from Baseball Savant )

Baseball is a game full of numbers.  A game full of different statistics that show how impressive or how abysmal a player’s performance is.  A game where men can hit 5-ounce balls over 500 feet and over 120 MPH.  A game where men can even throw this 5-ounce ball over 100 MPH.

I think you get the jist.  What the men in the MLB are capable of is quite astounding.  Baseball is considered the hardest sport in the world to consistently succeed at outside of golf.  So when players are able to post ridiculous numbers, it’s fair to say that it is very very impressive. 

Baseball Savant or most commonly known as “Statcast” records almost anything you can think of in a baseball game.  They record stats like a player’s speed from home to first base.  Stats like pitch movement and effectiveness.  Even stats like how many runs were prevented due to catcher framing.

That being said, let’s look at the most impressive Statcast numbers from the 2023 Diamondbacks season thus far…

OAA: Diamondbacks Rojas and Walker are locking down the corners

How does the old saying go?  Defense wins championships, right?  Well if it indeed does, 1B Christian Walker and 3B Josh Rojas should be on the front page of every World Series newspaper when the time comes.

“Outs Above Average (OAA) is the cumulative effect of all individual plays a fielder has been credited or debited with, making it a range-based metric of fielding skill that accounts for the number of plays made and the difficulty of them. For example, a fielder who catches a 25% Out Probability play gets +.75; one who fails to make the play gets -.25 ( Baseball Savant ).”

In this respective category, Josh Rojas is 2nd in the league, and Christian Walker is 3rd.  Among first basemen, Walker has prevented the most runs, and the same can be said about Rojas among third basemen.  In other words, Christian Walker and Josh Rojas are two of the best fielding infielders in all of baseball…

Caught stealing above average: Diamondbacks new backstop has impressed

What a season catcher Gabriel Moreno is having right?  He is currently hitting .321 and when it comes to throwing out runners, he is second-best in the league.

In a new statistic called “Catcher’s caught stealing above average,” Gabriel Moreno is only behind Rockies catcher Elias Diaz.  Diaz has a rating of 5, and Moreno has a rating of 4.  11 runners have tried to steal on Moreno, and he has impressively thrown out 6 of them.

Moreno still has some work to do with his framing and ability to block pitches.  But his hot bat and his cannon of an arm should make fans excited and hopeful that he can one day be one of the best all-around catchers in the game.

Run-Value: Diamondbacks Gallen and Kelly are dominating

When you have two starting pitchers with ERAs under 3.00, it’s no surprise that they both have pitches that are among the league's best.

For Zac Gallen, his 4-seam fastball is dominating the opposition.  Statcast measures the effectiveness of a pitch with a term called Run-Value.  According to this stat, Gallen has the 3rd best 4-seam fastball in all of baseball (Run-Value of -8).  Batters are hitting a mere .179 against Gallen’s heater.

For Merrill Kelly, his changeup is ranked #1 in all of baseball with a Run-Value of -7.  Batters are hitting .098 against Kelly’s best pitch.  .098!?  That is absurd.  This pitch averages almost 33 inches of drop.  Good luck hitting that!

A top 5 offense, an elite defense, and a pair of top starting pitchers.  No wonder the D-backs are 24-19…