Which MLB Hitter Has Been the ‘Best’ in Recent Years? MLB Research Question

In baseball, there are dozens of statistics that are used to measure a players overall performance. Rather than joining the never ending conversation of which ones matter vs. which ones don’t, I set out to answer my own question based on my own criteria. The question is – which MLB player has been the best hitter for the past three seasons? When I say ‘best’, I mean who gives their team the best chance to win by hitting the ball. For the sake of this research question, the four stats I will be analyzing are wOBA, runs produced (RBI + R scored), hard hit percentage and average exit velocity.

Here is my reasoning and brief explanation for each:

  • wOBA (weighted on base average) is my favorite offensive statistic in sports. It does a precise job of measuring players’ and teams’ ability to be productive, as it assigns different weighted scores to different results of an at bat. wOBA has the highest correlation of any offensive stat to runs scored, meaning the better the wOBA, the higher the runs scored will be.
  • Runs produced (RBI + R) captures the availability and the effectiveness of a player within the lineup he plays in. The entire defense of 9 players is doing all they can to prevent runs from crossing the plate, so that should indicate the importance of a stat like this. This obviously helps guys in the lineup every day, but that’s something that is a pre requisite to be the best hitter in the game.
  • Hard hit percentage measures how often a player ends an at bat with a hard hit ball in fair territory. From youth sports all the way to the professional leagues, hitting a ball hard is always the first goal for hitters because it; breeds confidence, increases chances of getting a hit/on base, and also is a really simple goal to have for each plate appearance.
  • Average exit velocity is very similar to hard hit percentage, but it differs because it really works to measure the raw power in each player rather than how often that player reaches that raw power. Larger built guys score better here, but the reality is that they are able to generate more force behind the baseball which is what drives extra base hits and tough defensive plays.

TOP TEN HITTERS 2019-2021

  1. Mookie Betts
  2. Vlad Guerrero Jr.
  3. Manny Machado
  4. Matt Olson
  5. Nelson Cruz Jr.
  6. Rafael Devers
  7. Bryce Harper
  8. Jose Abreu
  9. Freddie Freeman
  10. Juan Soto

Winning a batting title is something most professional players will never feel the joy of winning. But, does winning a batting title necessarily mean they are one of the better offensive players in the sport? Here’s a look at the past three batting title winners and a summary of their stats for those years:

As you will see, placing more weight on certain statistics of a player will provide a clearer image for who really has been the best. So, batting average doesn’t really indicate the best offensive player; after the final calculations, Turner ranks as the 13th best hitter, LaMahieu 11th and Anderson 37th over the past three seasons (2019, 2020, 2021).

The Analysis

I began this process by gathering the relevant statistics from trusted open sites such as Baseball Savant and Baseball Reference. After cleaning and importing the data to work with, I broke it down into three sections for each year in question.

For each year the same methods of calculation were used; each recorded stat is measured up against the rest of the qualified hitters for that season, by utilizing a formula that requires a Most Desirable (maximum value) and a Least Desirable (minimum value) score. This score is referenced as the scaled score.

In this case the highest number for each stat was the most desirable, but it may be the case (like pitching statistics) where least desirable is actually the lowest number.

Next, the scaled score is multiplied by a pre-determined weight for each category. The total weight between all categories must equal 100, and since there are four categories I used, I think they are all equally important so I weigh them at 25 (out of 100) each. This results in the actual score.

Once the actual score is gathered for each of the categories, the sum of those actual scores results in a players final score for that season.

This process occurred for all three seasons, and the final score at the end of every season was used in sum to get the FINAL rankings for the previous three years.

Conclusion

The hitters that rank higher in these calculations are those that take good swings at the plate and make the most of their opportunities on a routine basis. So, if I had to start a MLB team with one offensive player, I would start with Juan Soto.

2022 MLB Future Bets: Best Odds, Picks and Charts for EVERY Team

Not long ago, it seemed like professional baseball being played this spring was a long shot. After both sides agreed to something, the great sport of baseball is almost back in full swing (pun intended), only awaiting the first pitch of the season, scheduled to be Thursday, April 7th.

Each team has a winning total set by various sports books in my state, so we’ll start with team win totals, then move on to division winners, player props and finally league awards bets. All of this work was done by @All_TimeBets & @DailyCFBCBB on Twitter, both of those pages are shown at the end of this page to get a feel for what they provide.

Italicized bets are @DailyCFBCBB picks

Bold bets are agreed upon by both parties

Regular font are @All_TimeBets picks

A.L. Central

  • Chicago White Sox // Over 91.5 (+100)
  • Cleveland Guardians // Under 76.5 (-110)
  • Detroit Tigers // Over 77.5 (-110)
  • Kansas City Royals // Over 74.5 (-110)
  • Minnesota Twins // Under 81.5 (-110)

A.L. East

You would have to bet every team (other than the Orioles) to win 90+ games to cash in their over prop within the division this season.
  • Baltimore Orioles // Under 62.5 (-110)
  • Boston Red Sox // Under 85.5 (-110)
  • New York Yankees // Under 91.5 (-110)
  • Tampa Bay Rays // Over 89.5 (-115)
  • Toronto Blue Jays // Over 92.5 (-110)

A.L. West

Make it six straight years for the Astros to be the favorite of the division. Meanwhile other teams like Seattle and Texas have not been able to sustain the edge they had for a few seasons.
  • Houston Astros // Under 92.5 (-110)
  • Los Angeles Angels // Under 84.5 (-110)
  • Oakland Athletics // Under 69.5 (-110)
  • Seattle Mariners // Under 84.5 (-110)
  • Texas Rangers // Over 74.5 (-110)

N.L. East

For the first time since 2016, the Mets have the highest win total listed in the division.

  • Atlanta Braves // Under 91.5 (-110)
  • Miami Marlins // Over 76.5 (-110)
  • New York Mets // Under 88.5 (-110)
  • Philadelphia Phillies // Under 86.5 (-105)
  • Washington Nationals // Under 71.5 (-110)

N.L. Central

The Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t always irrelevant, but them and the Chicago Cubs have opened the door for Milwaukee and St. Louis to fight for the division.

  • Chicago Cubs // Under 75.5 (-110)
  • Cincinnati Reds // Under 74.5 (-110)
  • Milwaukee Brewers // Over 89.5 (-110)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates // Under 65.5 (-115)
  • St. Louis Cardinals // Over 84.5 (-110)

N.L. West

Arizona and Colorado are set up to watch the Dodgers prey all over the division… again.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks // Over 67.5 (-115)
  • Colorado Rockies // Under 68.5 (-115)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers // Over 98.5 (-105)
  • San Diego Padres // Over 90.5 (-110)
  • San Francisco Giants // Under 86.5 (-115)

Division Winners

AL Central: White Sox (-195) & Detroit Tigers (+800)

AL East: Blue Jays (+170)

AL West: Mariners (+450)

NL Central: Cardinals (+215)

NL East: Braves (+115)

NL West: Dodgers (-235)

Player Props

Home Runs
  • A. Meadows u28.5 home runs (-110)
  • A. Judge u36.5 home runs (-110)
  • C. Seager o26.5 home runs (-110)
  • H. Renfroe o31.5 home runs (-110)
  • T. Story u26.5 home runs (-110)
  • J. Soto u34.5 home runs (-110)
  • R. Devers o37.5 home runs (-105)
RBI’s
  • T. Hernandez o99.5 runs batted in (-110)
  • E. Suarez u98.5 runs batted in (-110)
Strikeouts
  • A. Manoah o152.5 strikeouts (-105)
  • C. Morton u185.5 strikeouts (-110)
  • N. Eovaldi o185.5 strikeouts (-110)
  • S. Bieber o235.5 strikeouts (-110)
Matchbets

Season Awards

MVP

S. Ohtani (+350)

K. Tucker (+2500)

Y. Alvarez (+3000)

X. Bogaerts (+4500)

R. Acuna Jr (+700)

F. Freeman (+1200)

M. Olson (+2200)

Cy Young

S. Bieber (+700)

Jose Berrios (+2000)

C. Burnes (+750)

W. Buehler (+900)

M. Fried (+2200)

A. DeSclafani (+9000)

Rookie of the Year

S. Torkelson (+450)

J. Rodriguez (+500)

R. Greene (+1500)

S. Suzuki (+380)

H. Greene (+750)

S. Sanchez (+1300)

Keep in mind the best strategy is not to bet on everything you see written here, and to always do your own research. For consistent quality sports betting content and a welcoming community, follow the Twitter accounts that contributed to this post:

@DailyCFBCBB

@All_TimeBets

Odds by FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM.

08/19 MLB Game Bets, Picks, Predictions: Orioles vs. Rays, Brewers vs. Cardinals

Brewers vs. Cardinals

Rating: 3 out of 5.

MIL OVER 4.5 (-115). Everything about this matchup screams a series sweep for the Brewers. Their offense has the highest slugging percentage in the national league the past two weeks at .513, and also have a league best .292 batting average as a team in that time frame as well. They are facing LHP Lester, who has allowed a .389 batting average to this Brewers lineup in his career and is the owner of a 6.43 ERA in his last 21 innings of work. He’s had a harder time getting swings and misses lately, so I just don’t expect him to shut down a Brewers lineup the way that I expect RHP Woodruff to shut down a Cardinals lineup that hits just .178 against him in their careers. Because it is a divisional opponent, I feel safer betting on the Brewers offense to back me up rather than relying solely on Woodruff to cover a run line or under total. Riding with all favorites isn’t typically the way to go, but I think there’s enough juice here today for both of these to reign true.

Phillies vs. Diamondbacks

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Diamondbacks F5 ML (+146). LHP Bumgarner has dialed the time machine back to when he carried his team to a world series. In his past five starts the team has gone 4-1 and he has pitched to a 2.03 ERA, and hasn’t given up more than two runs in six straight starts. Meanwhile, RHP Wheeler has allowed four runs in five of his last seven starts and is pitching to a lineup that surprisingly isn’t as bad as even the Phillies lineup has been. In the past week, the Phillies are dead last in the national league with 17 runs scored, while the Diamondbacks are modest at 17th with 31 runs scored. The Diamondbacks are actually hitting the ball better as well, posting a top five slugging percentage in the past week at .505 compared to the Phillies of .313, which is good for dead last in all of baseball. I am hoping that the Diamondbacks can pull of a somewhat shocking series sweep, as they will be taking the field with their best pitcher as of late and an offense that is hitting much better than the counterpart.

08/18 MLB Game Bets, Picks, Predictions: Red Sox vs. Yankees, Padres vs. Rockies

Red Sox vs. Yankees

Red Sox F5 ML (-105). These two teams have offenses that are playing very well, as the Red Sox lead the majors with 54 runs in the past week while the Yankees are ninth with 34. A doubleheader sweep was a wake up call for the Red Sox, who have seen their grip on the AL East be threatened. However, the Yankees are sending LHP Heaney to the mound, and in his last two starts he has posted a 6.43 ERA and has some serious home/road splits, with a 5.37 ERA at home compared to just 3.09 on the road. Meanwhile, RHP Pivetta has thrown the ball much better as of late, with a 3.38 ERA and a .169 BAA in his last 21 and one third innings. I like the chances of the Red Sox offense springing on Heaney and Pivetta to continue his strong performances.

Padres vs. Rockies

Rockies F5 ML (+118), OVER 14 (-105). A nice little underdog play, but the Rockies have actually had the Padres number this year, going 10-8 against them while outscoring them 71-63. The Rockies are going for the series sweep after covering the alternating spread in the first two games. The Rockies are much better at home than on the road, going 40-21 in Colorado this season, and given that they already roughed up Arrieta once this year in Colorado, I like their chances to do it again and secure yet another home win over their division rival. Over the past two weeks, the Rockies have the third highest slugging percentage in the national league at .491, and we all know how a game can go with a hot offense in Colorado. I am taking the Rockies to get to Arrieta like everyone else has this year.

This is the highest over total I have ever taken, but there’s many reasons to do so. The Rockies are averaging 8.5 runs per game in their last eight home games, and that’s without facing Arrieta who has a 13.50 ERA in his last 14 innings pitched, and will be making the first start for his new team in a park that he has a career 10.13 ERA in, during 18 and two thirds innings of work over the years resulting in an 0-3 record. Also, the Padres still have a very above average lineup. With Tatis Jr, Machado, Frazier, and more, there’s always a threat to score multiple runs quickly. To help with that confidence, Gonzalez’ last four starts have all went over 12 runs, and the last ones have both gone 14 runs total or more. This might be an 8-7 game that the Rockies squeeze out.

Angels vs. Tigers

Angels -1.5 (+130). RHP Ohtani has given up two earned runs or less in five straight starts, and has recorded the win in four of those games. The Tigers have just a .379 slugging in the past week, good for 21st in the league while the Angels are even lower at .341. LHP Skubal has put it together in his last two starts, not allowing a single earned run while the Tigers covered both spreads. However, he had been very shaky prior to those two starts, and over his career he hasn’t shown the ability to continue great streaks like he is currently on. I expect a low scoring affair capped off with an Angels win.

All odds taken from DraftKings official sportsbook: https://sportsbook.draftkings.com/leagues/baseball/88670847?category=game-lines&subcategory=game.

08/13 MLB Bets, Predictions, Picks: Brewers vs. Pirates, Reds vs. Phillies, Dodgers vs. Mets

Brewers vs. Pirates

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Brewers -1.5 (-120). *POSTPONED/VOIDED* I think this matchup has been the most popular for me to bet on this season. The Brewers are 12-4 against the Pirates this season, and each of their wins have been by two runs or more. I anticipate the trend to continue behind a strong southpaw performance from LHP Anderson, who has 13 innings against the Pirates this year while only giving up one unearned run. The Pirates sold away their two best hitters recently, and in the past week of games they have a team average of just .178 which isn’t going to mix well against a red hot division opponent.

Reds vs. Phillies

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Reds +1.5 (-140). In the last week, the Reds rank seventh in OBP and third in runs scored while the Phillies offense has struggled, ranking 24th in OBP and 25th in runs scored during the past week as well. I know RHP Wheeler is coming off a masterful outing, but it was against the Mets. I think he’s more hittable than that, given that he has allowed three runs or more in four of his last six starts. The Reds are a team that can prove this line to be a bit too much in favor of the wrong team, and prove to be a play on a strong underdog, considering the Reds cover the run line 68.3% of the time as road underdogs this year, and to compliment that, the Phillies have covered just 37.8% of the time as home favorites this season.

Dodgers vs. Mets

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Dodgers -1.5 (+110). The Mets offense has been riding down a slippery slope, mustering up just 38 runs in the past two weeks, the second lowest total in the National League. LHP Urias will be able to capitalize on a struggling lineup, and will likely deliver five innings with a couple runs or less given up. Meanwhile, that should be enough for the Dodgers lineup against RHP Megill and his 7.45 ERA the past two starts. The Dodgers are third in OBP in the past two weeks, and have the firepower and lineup stability to win any game. Back the blue in this one!

A’s vs. Rangers +

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

UNDER 8.5 (-115). In their last nine games, the Rangers have scored an average of two runs per game, that’s it. They’re going to continue to struggle against an A’s pitching staff that has the lowest ERA (2.38) and lowest BAA (.198) in the majors for the past two weeks. The A’s are somewhat better offensively on the road, as their OPS sits higher at .740 compared to .707 at home. However, the OBP is identical for both home and away at .318. RHP Dunning already has four shutout innings against the A’s this season, and has pitched better in the past month than he did to start the year. What’s risky is that the A’s lead the league in OBP (.403) and runs scored (49) in the past two weeks so their offense has found it’s groove to say the least.

Cardinals vs. Royals

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Cardinals F5 ML (-140). Neither of these teams are great at scoring runs, but the Cardinals are much better at getting on base, especially recently. In the past two weeks, they have the fifth highest OBP in the majors, while the Royals have the second lowest. LHP Minor is coming off back to back four run outings, and one of those was even a loss to the Cardinals not too long ago. RHP Flaherty will be returning after a stint on the 60-day IL, and although it’s unlikely he pitches deep into this ballgame, I like his chances of returning to form against this lineup. As away favorites this year, the Cardinals are an MLB best 11-4 (73.3%) and the Royals are just 13-14 (48.1%) as home underdogs.

Today’s betting matchups can be found on the Draftkings website, no account or subscription required!

08/04 MLB Picks, Predictions, Stats: Red Sox vs. Tigers, Pirates vs. Brewers, Padres vs. A’s

Red Sox vs. Tigers

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Tigers +1.5 (-125). LHP Rodriguez has been part of a somewhat troubled pitching staff in Boston the past month. Four starting pitchers (Rodriguez, Richards, Pivetta and Perez) have an ERA above 6.00, and Rodriguez has a 1.800 WHIP in his last 15 innings. The Tigers offense has scored more runs than anyone the past two weeks with 72, whereas the Red Sox are 20th on that list with 49. Four different Tigers (Baddoo, Candelario, Cabrera and Haas) are slugging above .500 in their last 12 games, so I think the Tigers are straight up sending out the hotter players and team right now.

As the home underdog this season, the Tigers are 26-14 (65%) against the spread, while the Red Sox as away favorite are just 7-15 against the spread. Those splits are in huge favor of the Tigers to cover in this one.

Pirates vs. Brewers

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Brewers -1.5 (-113). Last night the Pirates won as underdogs against the Brewers. Today, the Brewers will rally behind RHP Peralta to further show why it’s a good idea to bet on really good teams with a good starting pitcher facing statistically inferior opponents. At home this year, Peralta is 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA, .107 BAA and has only allowed a .136 batting average to the Pirates this season in three starts. The Pirates are only 23rd in runs scored the past two weeks, while the Brewers offense is 4th with 68. Not to mention the Pirates have the worst slugging percentage in the past two weeks as well.

If you weren’t convinced already, maybe this will help. The Pirates only cover 40.7% of the time as road underdogs this year, 38.1% of the time against division opponents, and they have only covered four times this year against the Brewers after being the underdog in all 15 games.

Padres vs. Athletics

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Padres ML (+105). This could be an exciting pitching matchup, as two guys face off who have sub 3.00 ERA’s in their last 20+ innings pitched. RHP Montas has really been dialed in lately, throwing at least six innings in four straight starts, three of those included double digit strikeouts to pair with a 2.10 ERA in that span. However, he has been more hittable at home this year and the Padres have the highest batting average at Oakland this year, with a .341/.386/.463 slash line in 41 at bats.

The A’s have had a bit of trouble crossing the plate as they rank 28th in runs scored the past two weeks, and RHP Musgrove can force that tough streak to continue as he brings a team best 2.82 ERA in his last 22 and one third innings.

Stats pulled from:

08/03 MLB Bets, Stats, Predictions: Rockies vs. Cubs, Twins vs. Reds

Cubs vs. Rockies

Rockies -1.5 (+120). The Cubs just completed a major selloff, and watched their three best players put on another jersey within the past week. They will have an odd mixture of guys finding their fit, and to do that against a team that hits .276 at home as a team and has scored the second most runs at home this season isn’t likely to turn out well for the Cubs. LHP Freeland has only given up two runs in his last 13 and two thirds innings pitched which he can carry into this start to help the Rockies cover the spread as home favorites in this one.

Twins vs. Reds

Reds ML (-140). I think success can be found in taking advantage of bad teams playing good offenses that are hunting for the playoffs. The Twins are just 8-17 (32.0%) as road underdogs this season, while the Reds own a 24-16 record as home favorites. In the past two weeks, the Reds have the highest batting average in the league at .288 as a team, while scoring 76 runs in that span (most in the national league).

08/02 MLB Game Bets, Predictions, Stats

Orioles vs. Yankees

OVER 10 (-106). The Yankees aren’t an easy team to show confidence in, as they rank 27th in the league in runs scored the last 12 games, and as home favorites this year, they are a mediocre 24-22 (52.2%). But, the lineup of Gallo, Rizzo, Judge, Stanton and Sanchez can get RHP Lopez in a bind early with just a few good at bats. Lopez has allowed a .295 batting average against the Yankees this year to go along with an 8.44 ERA against them also.

On the flip side, LHP Heaney has the highest OPS against him at .902 in Yankee stadium on his career, with an 8.79 ERA. Although those starts were with the Angels, those numbers are hard to ignore. I like the over in a game between a new lineup with good history against a shaky starting pitcher who struggles to go five innings without giving up more than a couple of baserunners. Add on top of that Heaney not pitching great in the stadium and this one could easily go over.

Giants vs. Diamondbacks

Giants ML (-195). This matchup has been completely in favor of the Giants this season, as they have won nine of the ten games they have played against the Diamondbacks. RHP DeSclafani has two wins against them already this year with a 1.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and a .544 OPS against in 13 and one thirds innings. The Giants have been the best team to bet on this year in baseball, and I will continue to back them with splits this good against a division rival currently sitting with the worst record in baseball.

PARLAY +302 odds!

Brewers vs. Pirates

Brewers -1.5 (-110). The Brewers are 10-3 against the Pirates this year, and have outscored them 85-34 in those games. In the past week, the Brewers are first in the league with 40 runs scored, while the Pirates are 25th with just 17 runs scored. LHP Lauer is allowing a .176 batting average against the Pirates this year to further capitalize on their struggling offense without Adam Frazier. There is too much of a gap between these two teams on paper to not take the run line in this one.

Mets vs. Marlins

Mets -1.5 (+112). A battle between two offenses that have struggled this year. However, the Mets have turned it around slightly as of late, ranking ninth in the MLB with a .768 OPS in the past 28 days while the Marlins only have a .684 OPS, the worst in the National league. RHP Megill has a .502 OPS against and a 1.04 ERA in his last 26 innings pitched, so he will likely shut down a bad Marlins offense. RHP Alcantara has a 4.05 ERA in his last 20 innings pitched, with a .666 OPS against.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑