First let’s get an overview of the Diamondbacks’ batters in games through 31 May.
Their three strengths (Data from Baseball Reference):
- The Diamondbacks scored 282 runs; they were tied with the Braves for the fifth most runs scored.
- The Diamondbacks have 53 stolen bases; they had the fourth most stolen bases. This is their most noticed strength!
- The Diamondbacks had 422 strike outs; they had the fourth fewest. This is perhaps their secret weapon!
Their underrated ability:
- The Diamondbacks hit 65 home runs; they are tied with the Brewers and the Orioles for the eleventh most home runs.
For all PAs, in games through 31 May, eight Diamondbacks had above average wOBA:
When runners are in scoring position (RISP), that’s when excitement gets a boost. Only 4 teams had more than the Diamondbacks’ 579 PAs with RISP. With RISP, they seemed to have a strength and a weakness:
- Their 18 home runs with RISP tied for 8th most in the Majors.
- When they put the ball-in-play, their .273 BABIP was lower than most other teams (only 5 teams were lower).
Let’s look at four Diamondback batters who are interesting. We will look at the following stats with RISP and with no runners on base:
- Batter Performance: One-Base-Percent (OBP), Slugging (SLG), and weighted on-base-percent (wOBA).
- Batter Luck: Batting average for balls in play (BABIP).
Before we discuss each batter, the following table shows their stats through 31 May:
Please note that although his defense at shortstop is outstanding, this article is about his batting.
His .370 wOBA is well above the .319 average in the Majors. In 2023, his wOBA improved more than any other qualified batter in the Majors (.253 to .370) per Baseball Savant.
Leo Morgenstern wrote that Geraldo Perdomo success may not be sustainable because his expected wOBA (xwOBA) was lower than his wOBA. The comparisons for April and May follow:
- April: .716 wOBA vs .411 xwOBA.
- May: .298 wOBA vs .293 xwOBA.
Although he hit much better in April than May, my view is that May is a temporary slump instead of being an indication of lack of sustainability.
PAs with RISP are the most important. Two statistics indicate that his wOBA with RISP is sustainable.
- His .497 wOBA with RISP is the ninth highest in the Majors per Baseball Savant (20 PAs minimum). It takes more than luck to reach the highest levels of the Majors.
- His .324 BABIP with RISP looks reasonable, and it is lower than his .342 BABIP with no runners on base.
Another reason that his batting is sustainable is that his basic batting skills are outstanding. For some details, see the following quote:
“His chase rate is in the 96th percentile, and his in-zone contact rate also ranks among the best in the league. What’s more, Perdomo has been especially selective on the first pitch this year, swinging only 16.4% of the time.” — Leo Morgenstern
In summary, Geraldo Perdomo’s batting is outstanding. My expectation is that his success will continue, especially for PAs with RISP.
I was happy to see his success in the World Baseball Classic continue when he returned to the Diamondbacks. His .359 wOBA is above the .319 average in the Majors. With RISP, his .484 wOBA is the second highest of the Diamondbacks’ batters.
In August of last season, Jack Sommers wrote about his career splits (he hit better against left-handed pitchers) in the context of Mike Hazen’s comments. This season, he is batting better against both left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers. For details see the following table.
Whether his outstanding .500 OBP with RISP and his outstanding .484 wOBA with RISP are sustainable is debatable. On one hand, his .467 BABIP with RISP seems unsustainable in the long term, especially when it is based on only 18 PAs with RISP. On the other hand, his .389 wOBA with no runners on base is better than Geraldo Perdomo. My hope is that he continues to find success, especially against left-handed pitchers.
Rivera is a guy we’ve liked for a while for his ability to hit left handed pitching and play the corner, third base. — Mike Hazen
Please note that although his defense at first base is outstanding (top-5), this article is about his batting.
Christian Walker consistently has a wOBA of .339 or better. Since the 2019 season, his wOBA has been 0.339 or better except for 2021, when it was .304. Paradoxically, perhaps his consistency is achieved by his ability to hit rare and ugly pitches.
“Sometimes. We occasionally do rounds that we call ‘ugly swings.’ They flip the ball anywhere and you’ve got to hit it. It’s about not being such a robot, not being so stuck. If you see something outside the norm, you need to be able to make a good reaction and survive.” — Christian Walker
Christian Walker is interesting because his results when batting with RISP will likely improve during the rest of the season. Reasons follow:
- His .128 BABIP with RISP is very low. Perhaps the lower BABIP is due to lower exit velocity. This season his maximum exit velocity was higher while his average exit velocity was lower. With RISP, Christain Walker can expect more frequent pitches that are rare and ugly; hitting those types of pitches is something he can expect to hit better than average. Likely, his BABIP will rise to .301 (his BABIP when no runners are on base) for the remainder of the year.
- His .225 wOBA with RISP is very low. Likely, his wOBA will rise to the range of .339 to .412 (his wOBA when no runners are on base).
“It’s all gas, no brakes.” — Christian Walker describing the Diamondbacks after winning 6 consecutive games, 2 June postgame interview
He is the leading candidate for rookie-of-the-year. His amazing speed on the basepaths have made him a highly visible fan favorite as well as his batting is outstanding. And he has made great defensive plays.
His walk-off hit on 1 June added to his luster as a fan favorite. Note that hit with RISP improved his wOBA from the .293 shown in the second table of this article to .306.
His 143 OPS+ and .384 wOBA are outstanding (and second best on the Diamondbacks) . Other stats are his 9 home runs, 16 stolen bases, and 54 hits in 216 PAs.
With RISP, his wOBA is better than Christain Walker. And like Christain Walker, his results when batting with RISP will likely improve during the rest of the season.
The following quote provides a perspective on strengths that fans can’t see:
“I think the best part of Corbin are the things I get to see that nobody else does. We all see the same thing and that’s he’s an unbelievable talent with the ability to drive baseball, steal a base, make a great play. It’s the preparation, the belief, the effort before he gets on to the field that I get to watch. The connections to his teammates, the connections to his coaches. Just a very open, honest dialogue. I think the best thing about him is he looks at his limitations and asks questions about how to get better every single day.” — Torey Lovullo