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« Brett Myers Part Two: Location, Location, Location | Main | Brett Myers getting it done in Houston »

A Tale of Two Grounders

Ichiro Suzuki and Juan Pierre specialize in hitting ground balls and using speed to turn those into hits. In 2010, the two finished two and three respectively in the number of plate appearances resulting in ground balls.  That's not necessarily a positive, however, as ground balls tend to result in a low wOBA.  They may produce a decent amount of times on base, but ground balls deliver very little power, especially if they don't leave the infield.

Ichiro beat out more infield grounders than Juan:

Ichiro Suzuki, ground ball hits and errors, 2010.Juan Pierre, ground ball hits and errors, 2010.Now look at where in the strike zone the two are getting their ground ball hits:

Ichrio Suzuki, ground balls, 2010.Juan Pierre, ground balls, 2010.Ichrio hits pitches low in the strike zone for grounders, and gets hits off them.  Those are the pitches he should be hitting on the ground, pitches that are tough to get a hit on anyway.  Ichiro turns them into a .266 wOBA.  Pierre, however, hits balls in the middle of the strike zone on the ground.  Those are balls he should be driving.  He ends up with a .224 wOBA on grounders.

Trying to hit those higher pitches into the ground also hurts Pierre in other ways.  Ichiro posts a .667 wOBA on line drives and a .316 mark on fly balls.  Pierre does fine on liners at .661, but on fly balls he only manages a .185. 

It seems to me Juan depends too much on ground balls.  There are pitches up in the strike zone he could be driving, delivering more doubles and triples.  Ichiro does a better job of driving the pitches he can square up and grounding the once he can't.


Ichrio .667 line drives, .316 fly balls

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