As we near the All-Star break it’s a great time of the season to examine some hitters quality of contact. We can do that through Statcast’s Expected Slugging Percentage (xSLG), which uses a formulation of exit velocity, launch angle, and occasionally sprint speed. Looking at the expected outcome of balls in play we’re valuing the quality of contact and not solely the outcomes. Any defensive shortcomings are also removed by xSLG. That makes sense, since hitters don’t get to choose the outfield they play that day.


Here are the top 15 batters in SLG-xSLG with a minimum 250 pitches faced. These players have the best contact and poorest luck.


  • Our old friend Kendrys Morales has crept his way to the top of this leaderboard. His approach will have him here forever. 

  • Justin Smoak has been a buy low target of mine for a few weeks so it was great to see him hit two home runs in one of his first games back. Similar to Kendrys, his approach drives much of this. His results tend to be better.

  • José Martínez tends to hit everything hard. We remain on the lookout for regular playing time or a trade to a team with an open position.

  • Danny Jansen has not had the year prospect watchers had hoped for. Learning to catch a major league staff takes priority for rookie catchers. Perhaps now that he’s got a few months under his belt this hard contact can turn into production.


Here are the bottom 15 batters in SLG-xSLG with a minimum 250 pitches faced. Guys with good luck but weaker contact.

  • We saw Fernando Tatis Jr. here the last time we checked in. He missed a large chunk of time, so it’s basically the same sample. The production is there again, so I’m unconcerned.

  • Rockies continue to be on this list as well. The cavernous outfields at Coors tend to result in more extra base hits than other parks. I’d ignore any being on here.

  • Multiple Diamondbacks popped up here earlier this season as well. Carson Kelly shows up this time. They play at elevation, like Colorado. There could be something going on here with thin air.

  • Jake Marisnick is usually a flash in the pan. He beats up a stretch of lefties and goes back to mediocrity. That outfield is crowded anyway.


As always. Dig into the Statcast data for yourself and play with the parameters. It’s the best way to get a firm grasp on the stat. Also remember that no stat is definitive. It’s a page in a players book telling an overall story.