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« Adrian Gonzalez: Home Sweet Home? | Main | Chad Billingsley's Slider »

Swinging for the Count

Sometimes when looking at the data provided by In-Depth Baseball, a fact pops out about a player that's surprising.  Alex Rodriguez hits home runs on different parts of the plate depending on the count.  For example, when the count is even, Alex hits home runs on pitches on the outer half of the plate:

Alex Rodriguez, home runs on an even count, 2008-2010.Most of these are pulled as well.  When Alex is in a hitter's count, he looks for an inside pitch:

Alex Rodriguez, home runs on a hitter's count, 2008-2010.I understand this.  Rodriguez can really pull an inside pitch, and with the count in his favor he can allow a pitch on the outer half of the plate to go for a strike.  I'm not sure why if he's so hot to hit the inside pitch ahead in the count, why he doesn't do that more often even.  The majority of those home runs are on 0-0 and 1-1 counts, where he can still afford to take a strike.  The only thing I see is that pitchers tend ever so slightly to pitch him away even, so maybe that's just where Alex looks.

With the count in the pitcher's favor, Alex's home runs pop up all over the strike zone:

Alex Rodriguez, home runs on a pitcher's count, 2008-2010.This makes sense, of course, since the pitcher is in control.  The interesting thing here is that Alex gets few pitches down the middle in these counts, but kills the mistakes.

So Alex looks outside in neutral counts, inside when he's in control, and for a mistake down the middle when the pitcher holds the advantage.  He's strong enough to pull pitches anywhere over the plate for home runs, which makes him such a dangerous hitter.

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