Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jason heyward cardinalsThe free agent class of 2015 is in a prime position to get paid handsomely for their respective services.

Teams looking to spend will see a fair numbers of players who found themselves atop the statistical leaderboards in 2015, and we thought it would be fun to see how the top free agents ranked in various statistical categories.

Offensive statistics

  • Chris Davis seems like the most potent offensive weapon on the market, as he ranks first among his fellow free agents in the following categories: home runs (47), RBI (117), BB% (12.5), on-base percentage (.361), slugging (.562), wOBA (.390), wRC+ (147), hard hit percentage (41.4) and HR/FB% (29.4). Those are monster offensive numbers that can play anywhere in the middle of a lineup.

  • Yoenis Cespedes’ 676 plate appearances, which were split between the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets leads the group. He definitely made the most of them as he hit for a .291 average and slugged .542 with 35 homers and 105 RBI. 6.7 fWAR is best
  • Jason Hayward hit for the best average (.293), had the most steals (23) and has the highest BsR (7.0) among free agents. He also has the dubious distinction of owning the highest soft hit rate (22.4%) among free agents, which was the eighth highest in baseball, just behind Starlin Castro (23.2%).
  • This class of free agents yields three of the 15 best players of the 2015 season, by fWAR standards. Cespedes leads the way there with 6.7, followed by Hayward (6.0) and Davis (5.6). Hayward’s 6.5 bWAR is the best of the group.

Pitching statistics

  • Zack Greinke is all over the top of the leaderboard, as far as free agent pitchers are concerned. He ranks highest in the following categories: wins (19), innings (222.2), earned run average (1.66), FIP (2.76), BB% (4.7), HR/FB% (7.3), WHIP (0.84) and LOB% (86.5). Greinke led all of baseball in ERA, LOB% and WHIP.
  • David Price has the highest strikeout rate of the free agent starters and finishes second behind Greinke in wins (18), innings (220.1), ERA (2.45), FIP (2.78) and BB% (5.3).
  • Brett Anderson was the best at getting ground balls, as his 66.3 percent ground ball rate isn’t just the best among free agent pitchers, but also the best in baseball last year. Anderson also had a 25.2 percent soft hit rate, which was the second best in baseball and a 24.1 percent hard hit rate, which was the seventh lowest. Both of those numbers are best among free agent pitchers.
  • Ian Kennedy’s 35.2 percent hard hit rate was the highest in baseball and highest among free agents.
  • And in case you were wondering, Fangraphs had Greinke as a 0.7 fWAR batter, for what it’s worth.

Pitch values, types

  • No one free agent pitcher threw a fastball more often (67.6 percent) or more effectively (20.8 wFB) than John Lackey.
  • Jeff Samardzija’s average fastball velocity (94.2) ranks as the best among free agents.
  • The slider most effective pitch in baseball last year, and no free threw it more often than Colby Lewis (35.0%). That rate stands as the seventh highest  in baseball.

  • But no free agent pitcher had a more effective slider than Greinke (18.6 wSL). Though, his most effective pitch was his change (20.1 wCH) which ranked as the best in MLB and the 10th most valuable pitch in baseball.
  • Mike Leake leaned on his cutter the most, throwing it 25.5 percent of the time. It also stands as the most effective with a 6.1 wCT.  Samardzija 23.1 percent and Johnny Cueto 20.7% also ranked in the top 10 in cutter usage. Former Cub Dan Haren would’ve topped the list with a 9.0 wCT and he not retired prior to free agency.
  • Marco Estrada threw his change-up 28.1 percent of the time, leading to a year in which he posted a 13-8 record in 180 innings.
  • In the end, Greinke’s 9.3 bWAR is the best among free agent pitchers, while Price’s 6.4 fWAR ranks as best.

Defensive statistics

  • Jason Heyward’s 22 DRS was fourth in all of baseball, while his 20.2 UZR ranked second. His 1.96 dWAR is the best among free agents.
  • While Hayward is the top defensive free agent, Yoenis Cespedes isn’t far behind. His 15 DRS in LF was second in baseball, while his 18.8 UZR ranked just behind Hayward among free agents. Cespedes’ 13 outfield assists lead free agents.
  • Ian Desmond’s 27 errors are most among free agents and were 2nd most in baseball.

Statistics curated from, and

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