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« Too Much Pull? | Main | Good Process »

How to strike out Josh Hamilton

How do you strike out last year's AL MVP, Josh Hamilton?  Well, over the last three seasons, 38.0% of all his strikeouts have been on fastballs, but only 59.7% of those were swinging.  However, of the 38.6% of his strikeouts recorded on curveballs or sliders, 91.7% were swinging.  And in his 458 total plate appearances decided on a slider or curveball, 26.4 percent have been strikeouts.

Josh Hamilton vs. Sliders/Curveballs 2008-10

(Click to enlarge)

So Hamilton manages fine against the junk overall, and he's been pretty successful when pitchers come in with it.  You can see that pitchers try to keep the curveballs and sliders away from him, and they do manage to keep his power down when they stay out of his wheelhouse.  However, Josh has been able to produce a .322 overall wOBA on all curves and sliders since 2008.

If pitchers are skilled enough to hit the outside edge of the zone with a slider or curve, they fair pretty well against Hamilton.

Josh Hamilton vs. Sliders/Curves within 4" of outside corner

(Click to enlarge)

In that 4 inch region, pitchers throwing a slider or curve have held Josh to a .313 slugging percentage with a 31.6% k-rate, and 1.7% home run rate. Josh gets a little more swing happy as well, as his swing rate jumps 6.0%. Against lefties in particular, he's only made contact on 47.3% of sliders/curves hitting that zone, resulting in a 40.0% k-rate and .155 SLG%.  So if you keep it sloppy, and keep it away, you have a better chance of keeping Josh Hamilton off the bases.

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