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What to watch for in Friday night’s Diamondbacks-Braves game

Batted ball profile mini-mes; plate discipline opposites

Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

After dropping three of four for the first time since the final days of May, the Braves return home looking to rack up some wins against the Diamondbacks (who coincidentally, dealt them two of the losses in that last 1-3 stretch). The stuff below isn’t really specific to this game, and is more just something to pay attention to in terms of how these two teams do and don’t differ.

Batted ball profile: the Diamondbacks are like the mini-Braves

Offensively, the Braves and Diamondbacks are far apart. The Braves are fifth in MLB in xwOBA and fourth in wOBA, with the league’s best xwOBACON and barrel rate, and a top-three hard-hit hit rate and average exit velocity. The Diamondbacks are middling-or-worse offensively across the board, including a bottom-seven xwOBA and xwOBACON. Yet, in some ways, they apparently try to do the same things offensively. Check it out:

  • Fly ball rate: Braves 3rd, Diamondbacks 9th
  • Line drive rate: Braves 3rd-worst, Diamondbacks worst
  • Pull rate: Braves 1st, Diamondbacks 6th
  • Up-the-middle rate: Braves 12th, Diamondbacks 11th
  • Oppo rate: Braves last, Diamondbacks second-to-last
  • Weak fly ball rate: Braves 13th, Diamondbacks 11th
  • Flare/burner rate: Braves second-to-last, Diamondbacks last

Both of these teams certainly look like they’re trying to pull the ball in the air. The difference, though, is that the Braves are able to take the stuff they hit, and hit it hard. The Diamondbacks seem to take the difference and mishit it, often on the ground:

  • Weak grounder rate: Braves 26th, Diamondbacks 11th
  • Solid, non-barrel contact: Braves 6th, Diamondbacks 13th
  • Barrel rate: Braves 1st, Diamondbacks 15th

Weird fact: The Diamondbacks have only three players (Christian Walker, David Peralta, Pavin Smith) with a barrel rate at or above the Braves’ teamwide barrel rate.

Plate discipline: the Diamondbacks are nothing like the Braves

  • Walk rate: Braves 21st, Diamondbacks 5th
  • Strikeout rate: Braves 3rd, Diamondbacks 14th
  • Zone rate: Braves last, Diamondbacks first
  • Z-swing rate: Braves 3rd, Diamondbacks 3rd-to-last
  • Z-contact rate: Braves 29th, Diamondbacks 16th
  • O-swing rate: Braves 4th, Diamondbacks 29th
  • O-contact rate: Braves 24th, Diamondbacks 17th
  • Overall swing rate: Braves fifth, Diamondbacks last
  • Overall whiff rate: Braves first, Diamondbacks seventh-to-last

The Diamondbacks basically don’t swing. They might be very patiently looking for a pitch to damage on (even if they’re not great at doing damage when they do swing), but the way they avoid strikeouts is mostly by not swinging rather than not missing.

This is probably a lesson, to some extent, for the Braves’ pitching: you’re gonna have to get them to put it in play and just hope it finds gloves, because they’re not gonna chase. Hell, they’re not even gonna swing at hittable pitches a lot of the time. Just try not to get BABIPed to death.

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