by Steve Mancuso

Get Your Thursday Off to a Great Stat: Best pitchers at limiting power hitting

Expected Slugging Percentage (xSLG) is a highly accurate measure of power hitting. It’s formulated using actual exit velocity and launch angle. In contrast to Slugging Percentage (SLG), xSLG removes defense and park factors from the equation. Hitters and pitchers are able to influence exit velocity and launch angle but have no control over what happens to a batted ball once it is put into play. To calculate xSLG, each batted ball is assigned an expected result (single, double, triple, home run) based on results of comparable batted balls since 2015 and weighted.

Here is the major league leaderboard in xSLG for starting pitchers (350+ plate appearances):

10. Sonny Gray (CIN) – .341

9. Kente Maeda (LAD) – .338

8. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – .336

7. Gerrit Cole (HOU) – .334

6. Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – .334

5. Jacob deGrom (NYM) – .331

4. Charlie Morton (TBR) – .327

3. Max Scherzer (WAS) – .322

2. Blake Snell (TBR) – .321

1. Luis Castillo (CIN) -.314

Note the gap between Castillo and Snell is the largest gap on the leaderboard. Sonny Gray starts tonight against the Cardinals and Luis Castillo goes tomorrow.


Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

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Jefferson Green
Jefferson Green
1 year ago

Beautiful! Two Reds – signed for the long-term – in the top 10. Is 350 PA a large enough sample size to be a reliable predictor of future performance? If not, how many PA’s are needed for these types of ‘x-‘ stats? Thanks for the education, Steve (and Matt).