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« Predictable Burnett | Main | Bobby Abreu's Option Vests, But Should It Have? »

The Uggla Truth

Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves turned around a horrible season with a 25 game hitting streak.  Since the streak started on July fifth, Uggla's approach at the plate is very different.

The story starts with where pitchers threw the ball.  They worked Dan away:

Dan Uggla, pitch frequency, through 7/4/2011.That was a good approach, because Dan did not swing at those pitches as much:

Dan Uggla, swing rate, through 7/4/2011.He liked going after pitches inside, especially those off the plate.  That was about the only place he made contact.

Dan Uggla, contact rate, through 7/4/2011.Uggla made his best contact with balls outside the strike zone, which in general leads to poor performance.  By not swinging as much a the outside pitches, he also put himself in a hole:

Dan Uggla, taken strikes, through 7/4/2011.He gave the pitchers nearly half the plate.  The combination of all the above led to a poor heat map when he put the ball in play:

Dan Uggla, in play average, through 7/4/2011.As you can see, all that inside contact did him no good.

Since the start of the streak, pitchers still work Uggla away:

Dan Uggla, pitch frequency, since 7/5/2011.But Dan swings more at the strikes thrown:

Dan Uggla, swing rate, since 7/5/2011.He really cut down on swings on inside pitches.  Concentrating more on the middle of the plate, Dan makes better contact.

Dan Uggla, contact rate, since 7/5/2011.He's also taking fewer strikes:

Dan Uggla, taken strikes, since 7/5/2011.All of that leads to a much better in play heat map:

Dan Uggla, in play average, since 7/5/2011.Uggla moved his concentration from the inside to the middle part of the plate, and that's given him much better plate coverage.  He'll need to keep this up for a while to get his season back to his career averages, however.

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