We’ve been examining Weighted On-Base Average minus Expected Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA-xwOBA) for hitters up to this point. It works for pitchers as well once the sample has become large enough. A higher xwOBA than wOBA indicates someone’s been lucky with balls in play. A higher wOBA means they’ve had poor luck.


Here is the leaderboard of wOBA-xwOBA for a minimum of 500 pitches.

  • Many of these pitchers have fastball problems. Corbin Burnes is the poster boy for that. Great secondary stuff could be muddled by a fastball that hitters do what they want with.

  • A bunch of relievers show up here, likely due to a select number of poor innings in a smaller sample. Those blips will smooth if they continue to pitch well.

  • That won’t be the case for someone like José Leclerc if he continues to have control issues.

  • Chris Stratton is still not a major league pitcher, despite his luck.

  • Is Tyler Beede as bad as his wOBA? Maybe not. He’s been all over the map. It will be interesting to see which version settles in.


Here are the pitchers getting a bit more luck than the batted balls against them indicate.

  • Dylan Covey is a bad pitcher. Even worse than his results indicate, in fact.

  • Be cautious jumping back into bed with Ryan Brasier . There has been no shortage of hard contact against him this year. It could have been related to an injury. Is that injury healed, though?

  • Don’t take offense to Mike Soroka being on this list. It indicates that he creates weak contact with pitching control.

  • The two Rays, Ryan Yarbrough and Ryne Stanek , likely have a similar propensity for inducing weak contact. Hitters only tend to see them once or twice in a game and have less opportunity to adjust.

  • Merrill Kelly is another pitcher looking to pitch to contact. He hasn’t been nearly as effective as the others on the list. It’s a hard way to make a living if you can’t.

  • I suspect Walker Buehler ’s high velocity may have something to do with him showing up here. His results have been mixed this season, though.

You can examine the wOBA-xwOBA results for yourself and adjust parameters as you see fit. Isolating individual pitch types is a great next step. Trade deadlines aren’t that far away and most of us could use more pitching. This is one avenue to look to for a leg up on your competition.