How lucky are Colorado Rockies hitters actually getting?

DENVER, CO - JULY 15: Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a seventh inning solo homer against the San Francisco Giants during game one of a doubleheader at Coors Field on July 15, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 15: Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a seventh inning solo homer against the San Francisco Giants during game one of a doubleheader at Coors Field on July 15, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies
DENVER, COLORADO – JUNE 29: Ian Desmond #20 of the Colorado Rockies hits a single in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on June 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Ian Desmond: Unlucky

Now look, a lot of what Desmond’s done this season has been self-inflicted because of his continual love affair with ground balls. That GB% of 47.6% is still third-highest on the Rockies (100 PA minimum). What you’ll be surprised to hear, though, is he has the Rockies lowest xwOBA vs wOBA gap at -4 points (excluding Yonder Alonso, whose gap includes his time with the White Sox).

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To back this up: Ian Desmond’s Barrel per PA% sits at 6.7%. That ranks second-highest on the Rockies behind only David Dahl. He’s increased his Hard Hit Percentage to 38.4%, which is a career-high for Desmond (still just above the league average of 38.0%).

A good comparison based off Ian’s slash lines (Soft/Med/Hard%, LD/GB/FB%) would be Nick Ahmed of the Diamondbacks. While Ahmed’s barreling less balls than Desmond (4.7% vs Ian’s 6.7%), his wRC+ is 11 points higher even though he’s hitting the ball pretty similarly. Part of that’s going to be because Desmond’s hitting the ball hard but right at defenders, part is going to be how Coors affects wRC+. Regardless, the numbers show that Desmond has been getting at least a little bit unlucky (though if he could stop chopping the ball into the core of the earth in nearly half his ABs, that’d be great).

Side note: Yonder Alonso should also be considered “unlucky”, but given that Baseball Savant does not split up wOBA and xwOBA by team, rather just the season, he’s not included in this breakdown.

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