Statcast Stumper: Squared-Up Rate

One of the goals of the Statcast Stumper is to provide some appreciation for all of the amazing data and metrics that are publicly available to us fans. Even though it dwarfs in comparison to what major league teams are using every single day, we continue to gain access to new data points that help to provide additional commentary and perspective on the game that we love to watch.

Enter Statcast’s new bat tracking data, which Matt Wilkes dug into and took an initial look at how the Reds stack up. This exciting new data gives us yet another component of player’s abilities and performance to analyze. Today, we are thinking about Squared Up rate rather than the raw swing speed that Matt focused on. This goes a level deeper than barreled rate, which focuses on exit velocity and launch angle, by layering in the physics of the swing to determine how much of the possible exit velocity was obtained on contact. From Mike Petriello:

“For example, when Elly De La Cruz smashed this homer last month against Milwaukee, he swung at 77.3 mph against a 93.6 mph pitch. The maximum exit velocity he could have generated there was 114.8 mph and he actually generated 112.3 mph, so that’s 98% squared up — which really can only happen in the sweet spot of the bat.”

For Statcast purposes, any swing that is at least 80% squared up is considered to have been “a squared-up swing.” The results of these swings compared to those where balls are not squared up speak for themselves.

Squared up

  • .371 BA // .656 SLG // .438 wOBA // 60% hard-hit rate // +11.4 run value per 100

Not squared up

  • .126 BA // .142 SLG // .119 wOBA // 1% hard-hit rate // -6.7 run value per 100

Now, onto the question…

Question: Name the two qualified Reds currently above league average (24.2%) in “squaring up” the baseball, as a percent of all competitive swings taken.

Answer: Spencer Steer (26.7%) and Jeimer Candelario (25.5%) are currently the two qualified Reds hitters with above average (24.2%) Squared Up rate. For reference, Luis Arraez stands in a tier of his own at 43.5% and Mookie Betts is currently second at 38.3%. On the bottom end of the spectrum, Will Benson is 4th last in MLB at 15.6% and Jake Fraley is 7th last at 16.8%.

Being successful at squaring up the ball is by no means an essential skill needed to be a good hitter. But this information does give us one more angle from which to compare and contrast players by better understanding how they achieve their results. Time will tell how

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

3 Responses

  1. Thomas Green says:

    Elly is my clear first guess. Ty Steve has had such a strong batted ball profile this season that I will make him my second guess.

  2. Steve Mancuso says:

    Guessing Candelario and Steer.

  3. Christopher Duzyk says:

    I’ll say Tyler Stephenson and Steer

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