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« Jonathan Sanchez Missing Wide | Main | The Change in Lincecum »
Friday
Jun242011

2011's Best Bad-Ball Hitters

We praise hitters who lay off pitches thrown out of the strike zone, and for good reason: hacking at out-of-zone offerings leads to pitcher's counts and easy outs. Batters have a collective .194 Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) when swinging at pitches thrown out of the zone, compared to .335 when taking a cut at in-zone pitches.

But, as anyone who has ever seen Vladimir Guerrero gulf a curveball at his shoetops over the fence or drive an eye-high fastball into the gap knows, some hitters can do damage on junk pitches. Here's a list of the top 10 bad ball hitters of 2011, sorted by wOBA on pitches swung at out of the strike zone:

  1. Victor Martinez, .383 wOBA
  2. Travis Hafner, .375 wOBA
  3. Casey Kotchman, .374 wOBA
  4. J.J. Hardy, .366 wOBA
  5. Ike Davis, .355 wOBA
  6. Juan Miranda, .348 wOBA
  7. Jamey Carroll, .342 wOBA
  8. Jose Bautista, .338 wOBA
  9. Albert Pujols, .334 wOBA
  10. Matt Holliday, .317 wOBA

Given the small sample sizes involved here and the overwhelmingly lousy performance of most hitters when swinging at off-the-plate pitches, this is more of a fun list than one with predictive value. That said, check out V-Mart's in-play slugging percentage on pitches thrown out of the zone (left), compared to the league average (right):

   For those wondering, Vlad has a .225 wOBA when swinging at out-of-zone pitches. He's still hacking, but no longer impaling.  

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Reader Comments (1)

For some reason, Ike Davis gets a ridiculously high amount of outside pitches called strikes against him, so "bad balls" for him aren't quite as bad.

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJP
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