Updated: Sep 7, 2021
I asked on Twitter a “Who’s Better” question? I did it without names intentionally because “As soon as the names appear, 90% of you will have opinions.”
Unrestricted by 280 characters let’s expand on that process.
Who is better?
This is the point you are ready to close this article and call me stupid for asking. Please don’t. What if I told you these numbers first?
Every single metric in the first group of numbers validates what most Astros fans think. Player B is better than Player A. Every single metric in the second group would lead you to believe Player A is better than Player B and that his performance to date is more sustainable.
Let’s discuss the second group of numbers.
BABIP- The league average BABIP is 0.291. Player B has the fifth highest BABIP in the MLB among hitter with more than 90 PA. The highest BABIP among qualified hitters is 0.380. What does this mean? Player B will NOT maintain these stats from the hot start. His average, OBP, and Slug could all easily drop 25-100 points. Will they drop 25 or 100 points? It is too early to tell.
xwOBA- I am not going to go into detail what a wOBA is much less what xwOBA is. Let me simply it by saying wOBA is a weighted measure of the ability to get on base and hit with power. League average wOBA is 0.314. The xwOBA is what one could EXPECT the wOBA to be based on the aggregate of all of the contact profiles a player has made. In our purposes it would be, given that these two players have small sample sizes, xwOBA would indicate who should be a better hitter long term based on the PA so far. It can shift dramatically with more data. The xwOBA favors Player A!
BB% and SO%- Both players need to walk more and strikeout less. Player B has a particularly atrocious walk rate of 3.1%. This is 449th among 457 players with 90 PA or more. This is horrible and needs to improve.
Defensive WAR- Every Astros fan would tell you Player B is better than Player A defensively. The defensive metrics seem to disagree. Time will tell.
So who is better McCormick (Player A) or Meyers (Player B)? I think the right answer is it is too early to tell. Now that I told you their names, you will want to argue about statistics. Again, let’s enjoy watching both of these rookies take the league by storm and figure this out in October and beyond.
All stats from Fangraphs.com