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Who's Hot and Who's Not... According to Bill James

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Several years ago, Bill James created a system that measures the ‘temperature’ of a player, which illustrates if his current hitting is hot or cold. Using the Fahrenheit temperature scale, players start at a room temperature of 72 degrees and increase or decrease based on their recent performance.

Let’s look at the hottest hitters through yesterday’s games:

The Hottest Hitters, May 2
Player Temperature
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 111°
Jedd Gyorko, Cardinals 108°
Anthony Rendon, Nationals 104°
Nelson Cruz, Mariners 104°
Matt Wieters, Nationals 97°
Matt Kemp, Braves 95°
Miguel Sano, Twins 95°
Mike Trout, Angels 95°

We can see that four players top 100 degrees! Last year, only one player, Victor Martinez, had a temperature above 100 at this point of the season. Three of the hottest players are on the best team in baseball right now, the Washington Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman leads the way with a scorching heat of 111 degrees. This season, he leads the league in hits, home runs, and RBIs with an outstanding line of .420/.458/.886. This is a far cry from his 2016 line of .218/.272/.370.

Fellow National Anthony Rendon’s heat isn’t a surprise after he went 6 for 6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in the National’s historic 23-5 win over the Mets on Sunday, increasing his batting line to .278/.356/.411. Prior to this game, he was hitting only .226/.316/.250 with no home runs and only five RBIs.

Here are the coldest hitters through yesterday’s games:

The Coldest Hitters, May 2
Player Temperature
Jesus Aguilar, Brewers 37°
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Blue Jays 41°
Chris Davis, Orioles 43°
Curtis Granderson, Mets 44°
JaCoby Jones, Tigers 45°
Kevin Kiermaier, Rays 45°
Jacob May, White Sox 45°
Kyle Schwarber, Cubs 45°

Two of the coldest hitters are no longer playing for their major league teams. The Blue Jays brought in the veteran Jarrod Saltalamacchia this year, but after producing just one hit and one walk in 26 plate appearances this season, he was designated for assignment last Friday. Also, the struggling rookie, Jacob May of the White Sox, was sent down to Triple-A yesterday. He was batting only .056/.150/.056 in his 42 plate appearances this season.

The Brewers are taking the opposite approach with the almost frozen Jesus Aguilar. He was given the start at first base yesterday even though he was hitless in his most recent 17 at-bats prior to the start. His last hit was on April 11th!

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