RC+ Statcast Stumper: Whomps Per Whiff

If it’s Thursday, it must be RC+ Statcast Stumper Day! We take a ballpark tradition and give it a modern twist. Our weekly feature pays homage to the Reds Scoreboard Stumper with a question for fans that involves newer stats and metrics. Post your guesses in the comments (no peeking!) Correct answers will be revealed here later in the day.

Enjoy and thanks for playing!

This week’s stumper is based on a stat created by a “stat” created by FanGraphs Ben Clemmons earlier this year. Whomps Per Whiff is calculated by dividing the number of barreled balls a player has hit by his whiff total. The idea is to understand which players are getting the most contact without selling out too much with big swings and misses. The leaderboards Ben compiled highlight how well this can pick out great hitters, as well as potentially identify players who may be ready to get hot, similar to xwOBA but by taking a much simpler approach.

For example, Ben singled out Tyler Stephenson earlier this week for at the time leading MLB in Whomps Per Whiff at a whopping .600 (9 barrels and 15 whiffs). Ty Steve got off to a slow start this year but has really turned it on lately. Both his Whomps Per Whiff and his 84th percentile xwOBA (.370) indicate even more improvement may be on the way. As a team, the 2024 Reds have .125 Whomps Per Whiff, which is just slightly above league average. Nobody else is even close to Stephenson’s level, with 5 players falling below 0.1 (considered bad).

Q: Since 2015, which Reds player with at least 1000 pitches seen has the best Whomp per Whiff ratio? 

Hint: It isn’t Joey Votto despite his “piece de resistance” 2017 season where he compiled 44 barrels and only 176 whiffs all season.

A: Brandon Drury

Somewhat surprisingly, Brandon Drury’s 1500+ pitches with the Reds consisted of 30 barrels and 143 whiffs, good for a 0.210 which is considered elite. Jesse Winker (0.173) also sneaks in just ahead of Votto (0.169), though it would be very interesting if there was Statcast data available during Votto’s entire career. Luke Maile (0.159), Matt McClain (0.138) and Jonathan India (0.128) are other current Reds who check in above average for their careers.

Matt Habel

Matthew Habel was born and mostly raised in Cincinnati and was always a Reds fan growing up. Ironically, he did not become die-hard until moving to Pittsburgh after college and experiencing the 2013 Wild Card game behind enemy lines. While the "Cueto Game" is one of the worst sports moments of his life, he became enamored with the analytics side of the game after reading Big Data Baseball and watching the Pirates organization end their postseason drought. He started writing for Redleg Nation in 2017 and has enjoyed continuously learning more about the sport. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon where he loves exploring the great outdoors. Find him on Twitter @MattadorHeyBull

4 Responses

  1. Geoff Glaab says:

    Probably way off but going with Nick Castellanos

  2. Matt Wilkes says:

    I’ll go with Spencer Steer!

  3. Ryan Forsythe says:

    I’ll go with winker

  4. Ryan Forsythe says:

    I’m gonna say winker