The Cincinnati Reds have one of the baseball’s most promising and exciting young players in 21 year old Elly De La Cruz, but there’s a big problem! –

That post was widely circulated, especially on Phillies Twitter, where you saw a mix of “please explain” and “nerds are ruining baseball again.”

Roughly translated, the tweet is saying that De La Cruz hits too many balls into the ground because he’s swinging down. That’s the “attack angle” part of it, costing him dearly in xwOBAcon department. That means “expected weighted on-base average” for just contact.

Here’s the formula via

xwOBA = (xwOBAcon + wBB x (BB-IBB) + wHBP x HBP)/(AB + BB — IBB + SF + HBP)

where xwOBAcon is the estimate for xwOBA on contact produced by the Statcast-based model and w[Stat] is the wOBA weight for non-contact outcomes.

Got it? Good. If he can match an improved xwOBAcon with his “vertical bat angle” (VBA), then now we’re cooking with gas!

Now of course the real question is whether or not this matters. Ruben Amaro Jr. wouldn’t have given half a shit about xwOBAcon, while Matt Klentak likely had a xwOBAcon poster in his room while growing up. Dave Dombrowski, on the other hand, is smart enough to apply analytics where necessary while not being a slave to numbers. That’s probably the right place to be when it comes to parsing and then acting on data.

The funny thing about all of this is that De La Cruz is in his first MLB season and hitting .325 with a .524 slugging percentage and .887 OPS. All good numbers. The people who watch him every day, inside and outside of the Reds organization, can figure out what he needs to do better simply by using the eye test, but if you want to attach a fancy number to help the case, then you do you.